Young Boy Calls Cops on His Drug Dealing Father. Admonish or Encourage?

Just a couple of days ago, a man was arrested and charged with serious felony counts on Massachusetts drug charges, in Lawrence District Court.  Except this case is rather unique.  You see, this defendant didn’t end up in handcuffs or court in the usual way:  Being arrested by the police.  He ended up in jail because his 11 year-old son called the police on his father – effectively, turning him in.

The boy the called Lawrence Massachusetts Police Department on his father, Yamil Mercado, after allegedly seeing his father deal drugs out of their home there.  Mercado reportedly surrendered to police last Thursday, one day after the boy called police to say that he and his 13-year-old cousin had found what they believed were drugs in the father’s luggage, according to a police report. The boy reportedly also told police that he’d witnesses his father in a drug deal just a day few days earlier.

Apparently, the boy wasn’t wrong:  Police confiscated 212 grams of what appeared to be heroin and fentanyl packed in plastic bags stored inside the father’s luggage.  They claim the drugs have an estimated street value of $8,500.00.  Mercado, 40, was charged last Friday in Lawrence District Court with reckless endangerment of a child and drug trafficking, specifically, more than 200 grams of heroin.  He was ordered held without bail after the Essex District Attorney’s Office requested what’s called a dangerousness hearing, which is held to determine whether a particular person or persons safety would be placed at risk if a defendant were released on bail pending trial.  If a judge rules that a defendant does pose such a threat to a particular person or to the public at large, the defendant can be held up to a maximum of 90 days.

There is more to this story, though:  According to the state Department of Children & Families (DCF,) this young boy had also reached out the the DCF for help about a year ago.  DCF had no comment, citing state and federal confidentiality laws.  I find that a specious answer, at best.

This boy has been alternately praised and condemned for reporting his father to police.  As a Massachusetts drug charges lawyer, I’ve seen a lot of drug cases, but not many clients who end up in court this way.  It could easily be said that this boy did a courageous thing – to protect both himself and his father from what are universally bad outcomes when dealing in illegal drugs.  Time will tell, but one thing is for sure:  This young boy has guts – and is a lot older in mind than body.