Holyoke father arrested after 5-year-old son brings heroin stamped with ‘Spider-Man’ to school

  • Benny Garcia, 29, of Holyoke HOLYOKE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2019 3:48:09 PM
Modified: 11/15/2019 3:47:55 PM

HOLYOKE — A city man was arraigned Friday on charges of drug possession and reckless endangerment of a child after his 5-year-old son allegedly took a bag of heroin stamped with Spider-Man to kindergarten and put it in his mouth.

Benny Garcia, 29, pleaded not guilty in Holyoke District Court on drug possession and distribution charges and a charge of reckless endangerment of a child. Garcia was arrested Thursday on a warrant on a 2018 drug possession charge. Judge William Rota ordered Garcia to be held until a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Nov. 20, and revoked his bail on the previous charges.

According to Holyoke Police Lt. James Albert, officers were called to the H.B. Lawrence Elementary School around 11 a.m. on Thursday for a report of an item brought to the school that contained a powdery substance. 

Calling the situation “a particularly shocking and egregious fact pattern,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Green said in court that the boy was showing a plastic bag stamped with the Marvel superhero Spider-Man and a powdery substance inside. According to Green, the boy told a kindergarten teacher that when he eats or tastes the powder he turned into the superhero. The boy allegedly stated that he took the bags from the living room of his home, Green said.

Green said the child was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and is OK. Police contacted the boy’s mother, Green said, who gave permission to officers to search her apartment at 145 Essex Street. During the search, officers located Garcia sleeping on his bed with other bags holding white powder strewn beneath him, Albert said, adding that as he was handcuffed, other bags fell from his person. 

According to court documents, police found 150 packaged bags of heroin marked with the logo “Power” and 20 other packaged bags of heroin in a dresser drawer, 10 clear Ziploc bags of cocaine and two glassine bags of heroin on a bed, 38 bags of cocaine on Garcia’s person and two glassine bags of heroin on Garcia. Officers also reportedly found four walkie-talkies and chargers in the home’s kitchen pantry.

“The officers located the same sort of baggie (of) heroin stamped ‘Spider-Man’ that the child brought to school in a dresser drawer of the defendant’s bedroom,” Green said in court. 

When officers told Garcia about why they were at his home and the situation involving his son, Garcia became “very emotional,” according to court documents.

Albert said the bag was sealed, and that police only knew that the boy put the bag in his mouth, as he may have not ingested it. According to Albert, the Department of Children and Families removed the boy and another infant from the family. 

“He loves Spider-Man,” Albert said of the boy. “Our officers were quite taken by it all. You don’t often deal with this.”

Green said it was the state and Hampden district attorney’s intention to indict Garcia on the most recent charges. Garcia’s defense attorney, Lisa Ball, of Holyoke, initially requested bail to be posted at $1,000 cash, which was rejected by the judge.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 
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