Southie Man Charged With Trafficking After Opium Poppy Delivery

A South Boston man was charged with drug trafficking today after he allegedly signed for a package from England containing more than four pounds of raw opium poppies.

MATTHEW BERKOWITZ, 32, was arraigned this morning in South Boston District Court on charges of trafficking in a Class B substance and violating the state’s drug laws in a school zone.

Assistant District Attorney Luke Goldworm recommended that Berkowitz be held on $50,000 cash bail and, if he posts that amount, surrender his passport, and submit to drug evaluation and treatment including random drug screens. Judge Michael Bolden set bail at $7,500 and imposed Goldworm’s recommendations.

Federal agents late last week notified Boston Police that a package at a DHL delivery facility in Cincinnati contained narcotics – specifically, almost 130 poppy plants that had tested positive for opium.

The package had been sent from the United Kingdom and was addressed to Berkowitz at his West 4th Street residence.

Boston Police subsequently took custody of the package and yesterday executed a controlled delivery to Berkowitz’ residence. An officer dressed as a DHL deliveryman rang the bell, was granted access to the building with a fellow officer, and met the defendant at his door. Berkowitz signed for the package, at which point the second officer identified himself and presented his badge.

The officers asked Berkowitz about the package. He allegedly appeared nervous and stated that its contents were intended for wreaths. When shown the poppy pods, he allegedly stated he had nothing to say.

As Berkowitz collected his shoes, pants, and keys prior to being placed under arrest, the officers observed what they described as a grinding and preparation station for processing the poppies.

Berkowitz is represented by attorneys David Eisenstadt and Thomas Hoopes. He will return to court on Feb. 27.