Big heroin bust nets two Manchester men; 166 confiscated bags have $1,200 street value Union Leader [Manchester NH] September 17, 1999 Author/Byline: CISSY TAYLOR
One Queen City man is free on bail while a second remains in jail after
being arrested in connection with the sale of what police described as
the largest heroin bust in recent history in Manchester.
Paul Daneault, 45, of 343 Hayward St., Apt. 6, was released on $50,000 cash bail after being charged with three counts of sale of heroin.
Last night, John "Jay" Polites, 44, of 162 Cedar St., remained in the
Hillsborough County House of Corrections, unable to post $100,000 cash
bail on a charge of conspiracy to sell heroin.
According to Deputy Police Chief James Stewart, the two men were
arrested about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near the corner of Central and Beech
streets following a six-month investigation by Manchester police, the
Attorney General's Drug Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement
Daneault is alleged to have sold 46 bags of heroin to undercover agents, police said.
When Polites was arrested, he was in possession of 109 bags of heroin,
Stewart said, that had a "Batman" insignia stamped on them. Stamps are
the heroin trade's equivalent of a brand name, identifying the original
dealer, police said.
Another 11 bags of heroin was also confiscated, Stewart said.
The 166 bags of heroin had a potential street value of more than $1,600,
small when compared to the money made by cocaine dealers, but chilling
because it shows that heroin is making a comeback.
Both men were arraigned in Manchester District Court yesterday.
Daneault is the ex-husband of Denise
Daneault, the mother of his two sons who mysteriously disappeared 19 years ago and has not been seen or heard from since.
The address he gave police is the same apartment in which Denise
Daneault had been living in 1980 with their two
boys, then ages 4 and 6. She was last seen early on a Sunday morning in
June, leaving a private social club downtown. Manchester Police Sgt.
Robert Moore, head of the Special Investigations Unit which includes
narcotics' cases, said the case that led to the arrests of Daneault and Polites was instituted by the Drug Task Force.
It highlights, Moore said, the fact that heroin is making a dangerous
and profitable comeback, both in Manchester and elsewhere in New
"I would say they were selling several hundred bags a day," Moore said of Daneault
and Polites. A bag of heroin contains between .01 and .02 grams, he
said, which means that it would take 50 to 100 bags just to make up a
"Ten years ago, a few junkies would get together, get up in the morning,
go shoplift, get money or goods and shoot down to Lawrence or Lowell
and grab their daily supply," Moore said.
"Now, we're seeing the dealers coming up here."
Ten years ago, a bag of heroin sold for $25 and even up to $30 and was only about 5 percent pure heroin.
The market has dramatically changed, Moore said.
Now, a bag sells in Manchester for up to $10, although the dealer has probably only paid $4 or $5 for it.
"The labs are telling us now that some is 90 percent pure," he said.
The purity means more users can sniff it instead of having to inject it with a needle.
"The old-timers are still shooting it up. The newcomers are sniffing it," he said.
"I think some people might believe sniffing heroin is somehow safer, but
it's still incredibly addictive," Moore said. "I don't think you have
to go to too many DARE classes to know this stuff has been bad news for
And, like its evil cousin, crack cocaine, the heroin is coming from sources in Lawrence and Lowell, Mass., he said.
"It's still not as bad as the cocaine and crack problem is," Moore said, "but we are seeing more, unfortunately."
Tales of alcohol, porn and shadowy figures Union Leader [Manchester NH] April 17, 2005 Author/Byline: SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
Every cop has at least one case that stays with him forever. For Tony Fowler, the disappearance of 14-year-old Laureen Rahn is that case.
"This is one I wish I could have solved before I retired," said Fowler, who retired from the Manchester Police Department as a detective lieutenant in 2000. "It was one of those cases that was challenging, and I really wanted to find her, one way or the other."
Fowler was stunned to hear that the Las Vegas coroner's office is looking at a possible match between Laureen Rahn and an unidentified female found dead in the Nevada desert on Oct. 5, 1980.
After all these years of looking for Laureen, he said, "I would feel bad that she was dead, but it would be great to close that case out and give her mom some peace, and not have to wonder for the rest of her life where her little girl is.
"That has to be horrible."
The night it happened, April 26, 1980, Laureen's mother, Judith Rahn (who has since taken back her maiden name, Swanson) was returning from a tennis tournament in northern New Hampshire with her then-boyfriend, a local tennis pro. Laureen often accompanied them to matches, but that morning, she begged off, asking if she could instead stay home with a friend. It was school vacation week.
Swanson agreed, and several family members looked in on the girls throughout the day.
But Laureen and two friends, a boy and a girl, apparently got hold of a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine and spent part of the night drinking in the Rahns' Merrimack Street apartment. Swanson suspects Laureen got the alcohol from the corner store, a popular hangout for the neighborhood's teens.
Her daughter's friends later told her Laureen had been helping out at the store, and had been there earlier that April day, restocking the beer and wine coolers. In those days, some people were more apt to look the other way when it came to kids and drinking, Swanson said.
The boy who was at the apartment that night would later tell Swanson he left through a back door when he heard voices coming up the hallway stairs; he feared he would get in trouble if she found him there that late. But he told her he heard Laureen lock the back door behind him.
Swanson said a neighbor told her he heard someone leave the apartment down the back stairs that night. And he, too, heard voices approaching the Rahn apartment, "then silence," she said.
When Swanson arrived home around midnight, she noticed the light bulbs on all three floors had been unscrewed and the hallways were dark. Her own front door was unlocked.
When she checked her daughter's room, there was her girl sleeping in her bed. Or so she thought.
But then, "How come the back door's open?" her boyfriend called out. That's when she went to awaken Laureen and found her girlfriend in the bed instead. "Where's Laureen?" she asked.
She's sleeping on the couch, the friend said, still fuzzy from the alcohol. She would later claim to remember nothing from that night.
Laureen was gone, her clothes and new sneakers left in the living room.
Her mother started calling everyone she knew, and the family immediately began looking for Laureen. They've never stopped.
When a teenager disappears, police usually think runaway.
And some of Laureen's relatives say that's how they treated the case at first.
"Single mom, that's all they could see: 'You guys had an argument, she got mad and she took off'," recalled Janet Roy of Manchester, her aunt.
But her family insisted there were too many things Laureen would never have left behind if she meant to leave for good: Her pocketbook, her clothes, the new sneakers she had begged for, and gotten, for her birthday.
"If you were going to run away, I would take all the personal things that meant a great deal to me," said Roy. "I wouldn't leave them home and walk away without any money in your pocket."
The case file
Within weeks, police had compiled a thick missing persons file in the case. It didn't look like the usual runaway scenario, they admitted.
"There just seems to be something different about this one," then-Capt. Kenneth Murby told a Union Leader reporter that July. Those who knew Murby say he used to drive around looking for the teenager on his own time until his death many years ago.
It was the same for Tony Fowler, Roy recalled. "Even when he retired he called Judy and said, 'In my heart, I'll never forget,'" she said.
Fowler told the Sunday News the Rahn disappearance "wasn't a typical runaway case" when then-Capt. Mark Driscoll assigned him to look into it, which he recalls was in 1983. "She just seemed to be a normal 14-year-old living on Merrimack Street."
But by the time Fowler picked it up, the trail was cold. "What struck me particularly about it was the fact that this girl just disappeared off the face of the earth," he said. "It intrigued me."
Based on the evidence, the former detective suspects Laureen left her apartment that night willingly, expecting to return. "There was absolutely no sign of a struggle. She didn't pack anything. She didn't take any clothes with her. That indicated to me she was planning on coming home."
"Honestly, I think she left that apartment with somebody she knew, or left to meet someone."
After her daughter disappeared, Swanson sought out the FBI in Concord, where an agent told her that without any evidence of a kidnapping, "We can't help you."
But he warned her of some terrible possibilities. "They said, don't you know white slavery is going on in Manchester? This is what they're telling me: They take these young kids and sell them out of the country," Swanson recalled.
And the "Moonies" -- a religious cult that was targeting teenagers -- were also active in the city, the agent warned her: "They take these young kids and reprogram them."
The FBI man was sympathetic and referred Swanson to two ex-agents who were private investigators. She hired them and they worked on the case a good three or four months. "They came up with nothing," she said.
The phone calls
But there were mysterious phone calls. For the first year after Laureen disappeared, Swanson got frequent calls, always around 3:45 a.m., "and no one would talk."
And Laureen's aunt, Janet Roy, said a young girl called several times after Laureen went missing, asking for "Mike." The rest of the family called her son "Michael;" only Laureen called him "Mike." But when her son came to the phone, Roy said, "Nobody was there."
Roy has always wondered if that was Laureen, disguising her voice for her aunt but reaching out to a favorite cousin.
The California connection
Then came Swanson's phone bill for that October, with three calls billed to her Manchester number from Santa Monica, Calif. Two were placed to hotels, the third to a hotline for teens asking about sex.
Swanson called the number and the doctor who ran the program at first denied knowing anything about the call. "But why would I have his phone number on my bill?" she asked. "There's some connection there that we don't know."
Years later, investigators helping look for Laureen would again contact the doctor and he would admit there may have been a girl from New Hampshire who came in with an older woman and later moved on to New York, Swanson said.
Still later, an investigator discovered the doctor "was putting young girls up in his home and he was doing child pornography," Swanson recalled. But the man had disappeared.
The thought of Laureen in California made sense to Swanson; the two had moved to Miami when Laureen was 4, but came back to New Hampshire six years later.
Laureen "always liked warm weather," Swanson said. "She hated being back in New Hampshire."
And like so many 14-year-old girls, "She always said she wanted to be in movies."
But, she said, "I just can't believe she would never contact me. That hurts the most."
There were other strange circumstances surrounding Laureen's vanishing.
Denise Denault, a 26-year-old mother of two, who lived just two blocks away on Merrimack Street, disappeared six weeks after Laureen and was never seen again. The two looked a lot alike despite the age difference, Swanson recalled.
And the boy who was with Laureen that night took his own life about five years later. Fowler said the boy was never a suspect in his friend's disappearance, but Laureen's relatives wonder what secrets he took to his grave.
"Why did he do that?" Roy asked. "What was bothering him so? And the worst part was we never had an answer. Did he go to his deathbed knowing what happened that night and never told anybody?"
Swanson said police told her the boy "left a note that said he couldn't take it anymore."
Fowler has always thought that some people police interviewed early on in the case knew more than they let on.
And he said, "I still believe that some acquaintance of hers knows what happened, to this day."
May every missing unrecognized person have the good fortune to be connected (however tenuously) to a serial killer case. Game-changer.