4 arrested as New Haven police find cocaine, heroin in container of rice and beans

This story originally appeared in the New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN >> A 27-year-old city man and three of his friends are facing drug charges after officers investigate a domestic dispute and end up finding 25 bags of heroin and three bags of cocaine, police said.

The cocaine and heroin, along with a bag of marijuana and drug packaging materials, were found inside a container of rice and beans, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.

Lawrence Howard, a convicted felon, and his three friends — Malcome Ratchford, 22, Shurell Ratchford, 25, and Timothy Jones, 25 — were each charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession within 1,500 feet of a school and possession with intent to sell; two counts of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school and possession of marijuana.

Howard was additionally charged with first-degree burglary, interfering with an emergency call, second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace.

Officers Michael Fumiatti, Louis DeCrescenzo, Sean Sullivan, Michael Daniele, Michael Criscuolo and Martin Feliciano were dispatched to a Maltby Place apartment on Sunday evening around 7 p.m. on a complaint of a domestic assault. The suspect, Lawrence Howard, who had left by the time police arrived, was believed to be in possession of a handgun, police said.

After the man’s description was broadcast to district officers, his blue Saab was found empty at his aunt’s house. Officer Fumiatti then spotted Howard in a first-floor kitchen, police said.

When Howard saw the officer, he looked away and disappeared into another room, according to police. A few minutes later, he emerged wearing different clothing. He was arrested and police searched the apartment for the reported handgun. The didn’t find a gun, but instead they found the container of rice and beans containing drugs, according to police.

The three other men in the apartment were then arrested as well, police said.

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