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Crack bust in city sets a record

By Hinda Mandell
North Adams Transcript

NORTH ADAMS -- A sting operation led by the Berkshire County Drug Task Force netted the single largest amount of crack cocaine ever in Northern Berkshire history Friday and led to the arrest of a man allegedly selling drugs out of his vehicle at a parking lot adjacent to Houghton Street.
William Eggleston, 29, of Taconic Street, Pittsfield, was charged in Northern Berkshire District Court Monday with one count of trafficking in cocaine and one count of a drug violation near a school or park. Judge Rita S. Koenigs set bail at $100,000.

Eggleston is being held at the Berkshire County Jail. He faces a mandatory 15-year jail sentence if convicted.

Massachusetts State Police, as well as the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department and police departments across the county, aided the task force in the operation. North Adams Police Sgt. James Burdick said the task force asked his department to help execute the probable cause search warrant the day of the seizure, Jan. 7.

According to the probable cause statement submitted by the task force, "approximately 414 grams of crack cocaine (including packaging), distribution paraphernalia and $3,116 in cash were seized."

That amount of cocaine is valued at $82,000.

Lunch break sales alleged

Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco said the largest amount of powder cocaine seized in the area was 542 grams, confiscated by police in 1988. Morocco said that the amount of crack cocaine seized Friday indicates that the suspect was selling to smaller dealers.

"When you have someone selling that much crack cocaine, they're selling it to dealers," he said. "They're not selling it [directly] to people on the street."

According to court documents, the task force received tips from "confidential reliable informants" about Eggleston's schedule.

Eggleston, who is listed as working at North Adams Tire & Service on River Street, allegedly sold crack cocaine throughout his daily lunch break, and after work.

The case is continued to Jan. 31.
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