Holyoke Police: Man faces drug charges after running through stranger’s apartment

  • Noel Garcia Muriel, 38, of Springfield. HAMPDEN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2020 5:19:40 PM

HOLYOKE — A Springfield man who police said burst through an apartment building, frightening the residents inside, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of drug possession and distribution.

Noel Garcia-Muriel, 38, pleaded not guilty in Holyoke District Court to charges of breaking and entering for a misdemeanor, possession of a class B drug, possession to distribute a class B drug (cocaine), and disorderly conduct. Muriel was represented by Kathryn Malone and was assisted by an interpreter.

According to Holyoke Police Lt. Jim Albert and a police report obtained through court documents, officers conducting increased patrols following recent city shootings performed a property check at 298 Elm St. Albert described this location as one of many “hot spots” known to police for criminal activity.

When a Holyoke Police detective arrived for the property check, police reportedly noticed a person, later identified as Garcia-Muriel, look out the front door window and take off running. Eventually, Garcia-Muriel was found by police as he was “pounding” on an apartment door on a porch in the rear of the apartment. With his gun at the low ready, the detective, who had made his way to the back porch through an apartment, ordered Garcia-Muriel to the ground and detained him, police said.

Another Holyoke Police detective made contact with residents of another apartment and asked if anyone had come inside. One of the residents reportedly told police that someone had knocked on her door, and when she opened, two men pushed her aside and ran to the back. The resident, visibly shaken and afraid for her children, could not identify either of the men who she said entered her home, police said.

Police allegedly found a napkin containing six blue Ziploc baggies containing a white powder believed to be cocaine and 40 corner0-tied bags containing a chunky substance believed to be crack cocaine. These items were reportedly found directly below where Garcia-Muriel was located and were still warm to the touch after being on wet ground, police said. Garcia-Muriel was also carrying $117 in cash, police said.

Assistant District Attorney Peter Gallucci asked Judge William P. Hadley for Garcia-Muriel’s bail to be set at $1,000. Malone asked for bail to be set at the $500 Garcia-Muriel had already posted, citing his cooperation with coming to court on time and financial hardship.

“He’s adamant that he did not commit these offenses,” Malone said.

“The complainant said two men came to her apartment … she’s not able to make an identification,” Malone said. “He does have a very strong defense.”

Garcia-Muriel’s bail was set by Hadley at $500 cash and $5,000 surety with the condition that he submit to drug screenings and have no contact with the alleged victim. He is due back in court on March 18.

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

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