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Retired Hub firefighter arrested in drug case

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / November 20, 2008
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A Boston firefighter on disability retirement was arrested in Texas this week with 41 pounds of marijuana, police said, news that comes at a sensitive time for a department dealing with drug use and disability scandals.

Dennis J. Hogan, a 53-year-old from South Boston, was arrested Monday morning after he was stopped for speeding on Interstate 40 in the area of Wildorado, Oldham County, in the northern part of Texas, said Linda Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. She said the Texas Highway Patrol trooper noticed Hogan acting strangely, asked to search the vehicle, and was given permission.

"While talking to the driver, he noticed several signs that something unusual was going on," Block said.

She said the trooper found 41 pounds of marijuana in a black handbag in the rear of the 2008 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle.

Hogan was arrested without incident. Police in Texas estimated the marijuana had a street value of $13,000, but that figure would probably be higher in Massachusetts.

Hogan told police that he had left Phoenix and was on his way to Boston. Block could not say last night whether Hogan was being held or what charges he faces. A phone call to Hogan's home was not returned yesterday.

Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said last night that fire officials were notified of Hogan's arrest. He said Hogan, a firefighter for two decades, retired three years ago. MacDonald said he could not immediately provide a more detailed account of Hogan's history. He also would not comment on the arrest.

Hogan was assigned to Ladder Company 19 in South Boston, according to that company's website. In the past year, Fire Department members have been trying to fend off calls for random drug testing of firefighters. The controversy intensified after the deaths of two firefighters in a 2007 fire in West Roxbury. One of the men had traces of cocaine in his system and the other was legally drunk, autopsies found.

Milton Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com.

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