Joseph Litrico, a 24-year old member of the Eighth District Firehouse on Main Street, was arrested Monday morning at the firehouse after undercover narcotics officers observed him purchasing heroin in the parking lot, according to a statement provided by the East Central Narcotics Task Force.
Litrico is the son of Eighth Utilities District Fire Chief Paul Litrico and Assistant Chief Mary Beth Litrico.
According to police, members of the task force set up surveillance in the parking lot of the firehouse after they received information that a firefighter named "Joe" was engaging in either the sale or purchase of narcotics while on duty at the firehouse.
Police said they observed a blue Nissan Maxima pull into the parking lot of the firehouse at approximately 11 a.m. Monday morning, while a man in a Manchester firemen's uniform approached the vehicle and made a "quick hand-to-hand transaction with the driver."
Police intercepted the Maxima and approached the man in the firefighter's uniform, who turned out to be Joseph Litrico. Police said Litrico admitted to purchasing narcotics after they approached and spoke with him, and was then arrested. Police said they seized five bags of heroin (approximately 1.97 grams) and about 50 bags of already used bags of heroin off of Litrico’s person at the time of his arrest. A search of Litrico's vehicle revealed Suboxone pills — a restricted narcotic used to treat opiate addictions — more empty bags of heroin, a small amount of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.
A search of the Maxima revealed 11 bags of heroin (approximately five grams), Suboxone pills, heroin packaging and other drug paraphernalia. The driver of the vehicle was Kenneth Bowman, 26, of Marlborough, who was also arrested.
Litrico was charged with possession of heroin, possession of Suboxone, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics within 1,500 of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school and possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana. Litrico was held on a $100,000 non-surety bond.
Bowman was charged with the sale of heroin, the sale of Suboxone, possession of heroin, possession of Suboxone, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics within 1,500 of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school. Bowman was held on a $50,000 surety bond.
The Hartford Courant reports that Litrico has been suspended without pay from the department pending the result of an internal investigation and the court case.