This past February, the Brookline Police Department responded to a call from a concerned resident reporting suspicious activity on her property. After surveying the surrounding area, the police consulted the security cameras at New England Treatment Access (NETA), which is the local medical marijuana dispensary located in the former Brookline Bank building at 160 Washington Street. The security cameras were able to provide the police with vital information that eventually helped them track down suspect Jose Ramiro, who has now been linked to several other felonies in the area.
The caller in February provided the police with a physical description of the suspect as well as the type of car he was driving. Detective Al Gustie and his team at the Brookline Police Department determined the suspect’s most likely route of travel following the incident that leads to the initial report. Realizing that NETA was along this route, the police called upon the facility to review their security camera footage in order to obtain more information about the reported car. The high-resolution cameras at NETA were able to capture the license plate number on the vehicle that the police then linked to one of Ramiro’s aliases.
At the time of the discovery, Ramiro had a warrant out for his arrest. The following month, he was taken into custody when an officer recognized him in a stopped vehicle. Since then, he has been positively identified with two robberies and possibly several more.
NETA opened its Brookline dispensary in February. The organization also has another Massachusetts location in Northampton. According to Norton Arbelaez, the Director of Government and Community Affairs for NETA, the building, which previously housed a bank, was a key factor in selecting the Brookline location for its many security features. Public safety is a top priority for the facility, and there are 36 cameras monitoring the building’s property and surroundings in Brookline.
While NETA is a somewhat recent addition to the neighborhood, the organization has been present in the area for the past four years. During the lead up to the opening, NETA worked closely with the Brookline Police to ensure that the dispensary would uphold their commitment to public safety. This has lead to a positive relationship between the two entities, culminating in the arrest of Ramiro.
NETA’s assistance to the police supports the organization’s vision of itself as a supportive member of the community.
“This event emphasizes our commitment to public safety, to helping the community, and to being good neighbors,” said Arbelaez.
In addition to the Ramiro case, the police also used the NETA cameras to identify suspects involved in an altercation on nearby High Street. Arbeleaz sees these events as a reflection of NETA’s ongoing commitment to the community.
“We will continue to be vigilant in ensuring public safety, in our engagement with the town, and to being a good neighbor,” he said.