Water Department workers accused of dealing drugs out of city truck

Erin Smith

Cambridge detectives arrested three on-the-clock city Water Department workers and an off-duty firefighter on drug charges Friday morning after an anonymous tipster called police.

Russell Feroleto, a water system maintenance craftsman who has worked for the city for about 15 years, allegedly delivered cocaine and Oxycontin from his orange Water Department truck while he was supposed to be working.

Police arrested Feroleto, 46, of 286 Cherry St., West Newton, and charged him with cocaine trafficking, three counts of distributing Oxycontin, three counts of drug possession within a school zone, conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of Oxycontin after a weeklong drug surveillance by Cambridge police. He also was charged with taking bets after police found him in possession of football game betting cards.

Police also arrested Kevin M. Horan, 38, of 563 Washington St., Dedham, and Kevin B. Cosgrove, 60, of 15 Arbor Lane, Waltham. Horan, who is also a water system maintenance craftsman, was charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws, and Cosgrove was charged with possession of Oxycontin, possession of Clonazepam and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Cosgrove, who was driving the truck Friday morning, was a supervisor for Horan and Feroleto, City Manager Bob Healy said. Feroleto, Horan and Cosgrove have been suspended from their jobs without pay, Healy said.

Police spokesman Frank Pasquarello said there could be more arrests in the ongoing investigation.

The police investigation of the Water Department employees began after an anonymous tipster, who called Feroleto a major drug dealer, left a message for police that Feroleto was being protected in his drug dealing operation by his supervisors, according to court records.

“I’m not going to agree with that statement,” said City Manager Bob Healy when asked if city officials were investigating other Water Department workers.

Sam Corda, managing director of the Water Department, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Healy said city officials have cooperated with police in the investigation, noting that an anonymous letter about Feroleto’s alleged drug dealing was sent to City Hall and passed on to police.

Detectives allegedly seized 23 bags of cocaine, one paper packet of cocaine, 367 Oxycontin pills and more than $400 in cash from Feroleto. Feroleto was allegedly making drug delivery stops around the city, including at the city’s Traffic and Parking building on Broadway and allegedly dealing at a work site at Danehy Park, according to court records. Feroleto is accused of selling drugs packaged in Watertown Savings Bank envelopes with the buyers’ initials on the outside of the envelope, according to court records.

Detectives arrested Feroleto, Cosgrove and Horan in North Cambridge after following Cosgrove as he made several stops throughout the city, while Feroleto — who was sitting in the front passenger seat — allegedly got out of the truck to sell drugs starting at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Horan, who has only worked for the city for about a year, was a passenger in the back seat of the truck, according to police reports.

Police said Feroleto, Cosgrove and Horan stopped their city truck at the intersection of Rice Street and Mass. Ave. while Feroleto allegedly met Cambridge Firefighter Theodore Desroches, who was sitting in his parked car on Rice Street. Desroches, who has also been suspended from his job without pay, allegedly bought 17 Oxycontin pills from Feroleto, according to court documents.

Desroches, who was on his day off, told police he had just returned to his firefighting job after a shoulder injury.

Desroches, 39, is charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of Oxycontin. Desroches, who has been a Cambridge firefighter for about 12 years, has also been suspended from his job without pay, Healy said.

Cosgrove allegedly stopped inside Frank’s Steak House at 2310 Mass. Ave. for several minutes while Feroleto met with Desroches, according to court documents.

“We don’t open until 3:30 p.m., so if someone said they saw him come into Frank’s, that’s surprising,” said Bill Ravanis, owner of the restaurant.

Ravanis said he has never met Feroleto, Cosgrove or Horan. Only a chef and prep cook are at Frank’s before the restaurant opens, said Ravanis, who said he was confused as to why Cosgrove might have been in his restaurant.

After he was arrested, Cosgrove allegedly told police he had been working for the city for 30 years and was just driving the truck, according to court records.

During Friday’s drug sting, Cambridge detectives also arrested Stephen Malone and John Gildart, who do not work for the city, after they allegedly bought drugs from Feroleto on Friday morning.

Malone, 51, of 10 Rawson St., Arlington, was arrested after he allegedly met with Feroleto at the Hess gas station in Inman Square to buy drugs and was charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of Oxycontin. Gildart, 64, of 1105 Lexington St., Waltham was arrested on Mass. Ave. outside Frank’s Steak House after police found Gildart standing outside the Water Department truck. Gildart was charged with possession of Oxycontin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

A woman who answered the home phone number for Feroleto hung up on a Chronicle reporter. Cosgrove and Desroches did not immediately return calls for comment. There was no listed phone number for Horan.

Pasquarello encouraged residents who witness crimes to call the anonymous tip hotline.

Said Pasquarello, “People are concerned that we don’t take these things seriously and as you can see the integrity of the department — that known city workers were investigated and arrested — shows that we take these things seriously.”

To report a crime, call the anonymous tip hot line at 617-349-3359.

Cambridge Chronicle