The events following an incident at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, Mass. have left state police puzzled.
When 5 men and 2 women from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore converged at the reservoir that provides drinking water to the greater Boston area shortly after midnight on May 14, state police thought they would have a slam-dunk trespassing case against the seven individuals. A clerk magistrate, however, put an abrupt halt to those plans which could leave the seven alleged trespassers off-the-hook.
After being detained, interviewed and released by state police, the seven people were to await trespassing charges and a court summons. Local news reports in the days immediately following the incident listed the seven as “arrested,” though state spokesman David Procopio is now saying the group was “detained.”
The clerk’s decision not to charge the group, despite the incident triggering terrorism alerts and the involvement of the FBI, has left state police confused.
“In our view, the clerk’s decision was contrary to our past understanding with the court, specifically, that the continuance without criminal complaints (which is how minor motor vehicle matters are generally handled) is not the resolution in cases involving violations of the Quabbin watershed rules,” said Procopio in an email to MassLive.com.
The FBI and state police have since stated that the 7 individuals who reside in Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton, Sunderland and New York City have no connection to terrorist activity.
Requests to obtain the names and court dates associated with the trespassing incident have gone unanswered by the Massachusetts State Police Chief Legal Counsel Mike Halpin, the East Hampshire District Court, and the records department of the MSP.
The Quabbin Reservoir is the largest man-made water supply in the US and provides clean water to the eastern half of Massachusetts including the Boston area.
Two weeks following the Quabbin trespassing incident, vandals cut padlocks that access the Hultman Aqueduct in Framingham, Mass. The Hultman provides drinking water to the greater Boston area. Authorities say there is no evidence of tampering with the water supply and are calling the broken locks an act of vandalism.
Read: Questions Remain After 7 Arrested