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Firefighter Caught in Drug Raid; Arrested

Firefighter Caught in Drug Raid; Arrested

Patrick J. Ryan of Quincy, charged with drug dealing. [Braintree Police]

The Patriot Ledger

February 10, 2011

QUINCY — A Quincy firefighter is on leave after being arrested in a Braintree drug raid. It’s the second time Patrick J. Ryan, 45, has been disciplined for facing criminal charges.

Ryan has been a city firefighter since 1995. He is charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Police raided a house on East Division Street in Braintree Saturday that they say was the base of a drug distribution ring. Ryan, of 81 Lawn Ave., Quincy, was at the house when it was raided. Police said they found more than 10 pounds of marijuana, hundreds of prescription pills and steroids, more than $7,000 cash and an area in the basement that appeared to be set up for packaging drugs.

A police report filed in court says Ryan “has been a frequent party” in the investigation of the ring. The report says that interviews conducted by police indicated Ryan was a co-conspirator of Vincent J. Papagno, 41, of 102 Glendale Road, Quincy, and Wesley P. Dikkes, 33, of Bellingham, who each face multiple drug charges. Samantha Baker, 33, of 5 Georgia Road, Weymouth, was also arrested at the house.

Braintree police worked with State Police, Quincy police and U.S. postal inspectors in organizing the bust. Ryan was arraigned in Quincy District Court on Monday and released on personal recognizance.

He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from the fire department pending an investigation by the city, said Christopher Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch.

“The mayor has absolutely no tolerance for the kind of behavior described in these allegations,” Walker said.

According to the most recent city payroll records available, Ryan was paid $80,317 in 2009.

Fire Chief Joseph Barron did not return calls for comment. Ryan could not be reached.

Ernie Arienti, president of the Quincy firefighters union, expressed support for Ryan.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s innocent until he’s proven guilty,” Arienti said. “I’ve worked with him since he’s been on the job. He’s a hard-working firefighter.”

It is not the first time Ryan has faced discipline by the fire department. He was suspended after he was charged in 2005 with improper storage of high-capacity firearms.

On Jan. 3, 2005, police found three loaded guns – a 12-gauge shotgun, a .40-caliber handgun and a 9 mm handgun – in Ryan’s unlocked black pickup truck, which was parked at Quincy Fire Department headquarters. Three months later, Quincy police charged Ryan with three counts of improper storage of high-capacity firearms, a felony.

Ryan was sentenced to probation after pleading to sufficient facts to find him guilty. He surrendered his firearms license and weapons during his probation.

The charges were dismissed by Judge Mark Coven in October 2006 on recommendation of the Probation Department.

Ryan hired future Assistant City Solicitor William Sullivan to defend him in the case. Sullivan argued that statements Ryan made to police should be suppressed because he was not properly read his Miranda rights and that police illegally searched his truck in finding the guns.

The gun search was prompted by Ryan’s arrest on charges of violating a restraining order that was taken out against him in Sandwich. Quincy police arrested Ryan on behalf of Sandwich police the day before the guns were found.

According to court documents, Ryan told Sandwich police the firearms were in his vehicle at Quincy fire headquarters. Police said they had consent from Ryan’s brother, who is also a Quincy firefighter, to open the vehicle to retrieve the firearms.

Quincy police officer Ralph Willard and Sgt. Kevin Tobin found the guns under the rear seat on the driver’s side of the vehicle. The driver’s side door was unlocked. The guns were not in a locked case or secured with trigger locks, a violation of state law, according to a court document. Sandwich police took the guns as part of its investigation.

Arienti said Ryan served a suspension for the incident, though he couldn’t recall for how long. Retired Fire Chief Timothy Pettinelli, who was chief in Quincy at the time of the incident, referred questions to the current chief.

“I recall it, but I really wouldn’t want to comment not having the information in front of me,” Pettinelli said. “I wouldn’t want to jeopardize this kind of case with any misinformation.”