Multiple arrests in alleged sale of LSD, Ecstacy near Navy base

From left to right, Cheyenne Collins, 18, of Pawtucket, R.I., Ashton Knudsen, 20, of Charlestown, R.I., and Travis Haught, 23, of Pawtucket, R.I., appear before Judge Kevin McMahon Friday, May 4, 2012. The three have been charged in connection with the sale of illegal drugs on Ohio Avenue in Groton.
From left to right, Cheyenne Collins, 18, of Pawtucket, R.I., Ashton Knudsen, 20, of Charlestown, R.I., and Travis Haught, 23, of Pawtucket, R.I., appear before Judge Kevin McMahon Friday, May 4, 2012. The three have been charged in connection with the sale of illegal drugs on Ohio Avenue in Groton. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

Groton — A 23-year-old Pawtucket, R.I., man exchanged text messages with a town resident, then headed to Connecticut with three others Thursday to deliver a large amount of hallucinogenic drugs, according to police.

At the prearranged "meet" site on Ohio Avenue, where many Navy families live, Travis Haught and his three companions were greeted by members of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, Statewide Narcotics Task Force and Groton Town Police. The police had learned of the deal from others they arrested earlier in the week.

Haught and his three companions were arrested. Two sailors from the Naval Submarine Base and two residents of Navy housing also were arrested earlier in the week while allegedly trying to buy drugs, and two other sailors were given infractions for having a small amount of marijuana.

Police confiscated more than two ounces of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, and over 100 doses of LSD. Haught was carrying the MDMA in powder form in his backpack, according to a police report. Some of the drug was in a container designed to look like a "Dr. Pepper" soda can, police said. The LSD was in the form of "peace designs" on a 3-by-3-inch folded magazine paper that Haught carried in his shirt pocket. He also had a digital scale, a silver spoon and a 10-inch hunting knife with a 6-inch blade, according to police.

The police charged Haught with conspiracy to possess hallucinogens with intent to sell, two counts of possession of hallucinogens with intent to sell, two counts of possession of hallucinogens, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a dangerous weapon.

They charged the other occupants of the car, Ashton Knudsen, 20, of Charlestown, R.I., and Joshua Zuckerman, 24, and Cheyenne Collins, 18, both of Pawtucket, with conspiracy to possess hallucinogens with intent to sell.

Haught, Knudsen and Collins were held overnight and presented for arraignment Friday in New London Superior Court. None has a prior criminal record, according to court officials.

Describing Haught as the "main player" and the "target" of the investigation, Judge Kevin P. McMahon set his bond at $150,000 and continued the case to May 16.

Knudsen, the alleged "wheelman," or driver, admitted to knowing the purpose of the ride to Connecticut and to accepting money, according to prosecutor Rafael Bustamante. The judge set his bond at $75,000.

McMahon ordered Collins released on a written promise to appear in court on May 29. He said there is not much to tie her to the crime beyond her mere presence when the deal was attempted.

Zuckerman had posted bond from the police department and is scheduled to be arraigned May 17.

The investigation began after two sailors assigned to the Naval Submarine Base were given infractions Monday for possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to Lt. John W. Varone of the Groton Police Department.

On Tuesday, police charged two sailors with criminal attempt to possess hallucinogens. Bron Lukas, 24, and John Elder, 20, of the Naval Submarine Base are out on a $5,000 bond and are scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on May 15.

Lukas also was charged with having a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Corey Bernard, 20, of 202 Michigan Drive, and Derrick Saunders, 21, of 263 Osprey Drive, also were charged with criminal attempt to possess hallucinogens. Police could not say whether they were sailors, but did say they live in Navy housing. Both men are free on a $5,000 bond and will appear in court on May 15.

NCIS spokesman Ed Buice could not be reached to comment.

i.larraneta@theday.com

k.florin@theday.com

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