■ DRUG BUST Methuen police officers arrested two residents Wednesday after they found cocaine, fentanyl, a gun, and a young child during the execution of a search warrant, police said. Officers in the Methuen Police Narcotics/Gang and Intelligence Unit searched an apartment at 10 Willow St. as part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking, police said. Officers seized 10 bags of cocaine totaling about seven grams, 53 bags of fentanyl totaling about 56.9 grams, a semi-automatic handgun, and $1,940 in cash, Methuen police said in a statement. The child, whose mother was in the apartment, was put in the emergency custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families, a DCF official said. Neither the DCF nor police were able to provide any additional information on the child. One of the arrested residents, Edgar Arias, 29, was charged with three counts of distribution of fentanyl, trafficking fentanyl, and possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute. Arias also had two additional warrants for his arrest on drug charges out of Waltham District Court, police said. Chelimar Gonzalez, 28, was charged with possession of a firearm without a license, police said.
■ MURDER PLOT Jailhouse recordings obtained from the Middleton House of Correction link a child rape suspect to a plot to solicit the murders of his two alleged victims, a prosecutor said Thursday. The recordings were briefly referenced during a hearing in Essex Superior Court for Scott Smith, 38, who has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped two minors in Salisbury, as well as charges of possessing child pornography and providing alcohol to someone under 21. Relatives of the alleged victims attended Thursday’s hearing but declined to comment afterward. Smith has been held since June but was poised for release Wednesday, following Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley’s decision to set bail at $1,000 with conditions that he remain on house arrest and submit to GPS monitoring. But Smith’s release was held up when prosecutors came forward with a motion to revoke his bail, citing new allegations that he tried to solicit the alleged victims’ murders, according to Essex prosecutors. Judge Thomas Drechsler ordered Smith held, setting up Thursday’s hearing on the state’s motion. Then on Thursday, Drechsler continued the hearing to Oct. 15 to allow time for Smith’s lawyer to review the evidence related to the alleged murder plot. Smith hasn’t been charged in connection with the alleged plot and has been moved to the jail in Billerica.
■ FATAL FIRE A 76-year-old woman, who was bedridden, has been identified as the person fatally injured when a fire broke out in an Arlington residence last week. Margarita Tsugunyan fell asleep while smoking in her bed, which she had placed in the living room of her residence on Osborne Road, on Sept. 29, according to the state fire marshal’s office. The fire was discovered around 9 p.m., and two of the woman’s neighbors tried to help by using a garden hose to douse the flames until Arlington firefighters arrived, officials said. Tsugunyan was the ninth person to die in a fire linked to improper use of smoking materials. Overall, the state has recorded 31 fire deaths, the fire marshal’s office said.