Police Seize Firearms, Drugs In Separate Western Mass Incidents

Police seized several firearms and drugs during two separate incidents within a few hours of each other in Western Massachusetts.

The guns seized in the incident involving the GPS ankle bracelet.
The guns seized in the incident involving the GPS ankle bracelet. Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department

On Tuesday, April 6, members of District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s Violent Offender Task Force and Springfield Police Officers arrested 22-year-old Nathan Mercado of Springfield during a traffic stop.

The bust went down when the task force and Springfield police officers were conducting an investigation when they observed a car driving erratically and committing traffic violations, said the Springfield Police Department.

 A traffic stop was conducted and during the stop, a firearm was located under the passenger seat where Mercado was seated, police said.

As officers attempted to place Mercado into custody he began striking the officer and trooper in an attempt to flee before he was able to be placed under arrest, police added.

The trooper then located a second firearm underneath the passenger seat. The first firearm was loaded with 16 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition. The second firearm was loaded with 13 rounds and reported stolen out of Vermont, Springfield Police said.

In March 2019 Springfield Police Officers arrested Mercado on firearms charges where he was prosecuted by the Hampden District Attorney’s office and convicted.

In September 2020 Springfield Police Officers arrested Mercado again with three loaded firearms and he is currently facing 16 firearms charges in that case. 

Mercado was released pending trial with the condition that he wear a GPS ankle bracelet. 

Following his latest arrest, Mercado was charged with:

  • Two counts carrying a firearm without a license
  • Two counts carrying a loaded large-capacity firearm on a public way
  • Two counts of a firearm without an FID card
  • Receiving stolen property less than $1200
  • Two counts of assault & battery on a police officer 
  • Resisting arrest 

The next day, on Wednesday, April 7, officers with the Springfield Narcotics Bureau busted Israel Aponte, 35, of Springfield, for alleged possession of a gun and drugs following an investigation, said the Springfield Police.

Over the course of the past few weeks, Springfield Police Narcotics Detectives and DEA Task Force members have been investigating the illegal distribution of heroin from this home with Aponte as the target of the investigation. 

On Wednesday, a warrant was served at his home where detectives seized a firearm, 940 bags of heroin, more than 30 grams of cocaine, more than 140 packets of Suboxone, 49 rounds of ammunition, and $1,800 in cash, police said.

Aponte was charged with:

  • Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony
  • Improper storage of a firearm
  • Possession of a firearm without an FID card
  • Possession of ammunition without an FID card
  • Trafficking of heroin
  • Trafficking of cocaine
  • Possession with the intent to distribute Suboxone

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