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Northampton men plead not guilty to drug charges following September raid 

  • Derek Robert Woofenden, 37, pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Monday to charges of cultivation/manufacturing of marijuana, possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and possession of heroine with intent to distribute. —EMILY CUTTS

  • Casey Edward Howard, 31, pictured in Northampton District Court on Sept. 1. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



@ecutts_HG
Monday, November 13, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — A city man accused of taking part in a conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs downtown  pleaded not guilty to several felony drug charges in Hampshire Superior Court on Monday. 

Derek Robert Woofenden, 37, pleaded not guilty to charges of cultivation/manufacturing of marijuana, possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and possession of heroin with intent to distribute. He was released on $2,500 cash bail which he posted following his September arraignment in Northampton District Court.

An alleged co-conspirator, Casey Edward Howard, 31, earlier pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court in October to charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin, oxycodone, tetrahydrocannanibol and marijuana — all of those a second or subsequent offense. Howard also pleaded not guilty to charges of cultivation/manufacturing of marijuana, a second or subsequent offense, unlawful possession of ammunition, .45 caliber, .308 caliber, .50 caliber, .300 BLK — all as a person with at least two prior crimes of violence.

Howard is being held on $10,000 bail, which was an increase from the $2,500 bail set during his September arraignment in Northampton District Court. He is being represented by David Mintz. Woofenden is being represented by Jon Heyman.

The two men — Howard, of Leeds, and Woofenden, of Northampton — were arrested on Sept. 1, 2017, following an investigation into the distribution of heroin and oxycodone in the downtown area by the Northampton Police in partnership with Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Anti-Crime Task Force and Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations (STOP) Team.

Police executed a search warrant at a Main Street apartment at  3:35 a.m. on Sept. 1.

In Howard’s bedroom, police found guns and ammunition, according to court records. In the bathroom, they found 21 marijuana plants, and in the kitchen, bags of heroin and oxycodone, court records show.  In total, police found 57 bags of heroin; 52 pills of oxycodone; 21 marijuana plants and 5 pounds of marijuana, according to court records.

Howard is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 7. Woofenden’s next court is set for Jan. 17.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.