Friends were in shock after learning of the arrest of 21-year-old Stephen Silva on federal charges related to heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number that law enforcement officials say was the gun used to murder MIT police officer Sean Collier.
"I just doubt he’s involved with selling the firearm and I don’t know where they would get that evidence or allegedly the proof," Visa Lorenzo, a friend, said.
Another friend who wanted to only be known as Mr. Francois said, "It’s crazy, if that’s true that’s messed up, that’s not fair to the late officer Sean Collier he was minding his business."
Neighbors say FBI agents swarmed his apartment here on Memorial Drive in Cambridge Monday night.
"They rolled up packed, there was like 15 of them everywhere, I saw them carrying out cases," Francois said.
Friends describe Silva as a quiet college kid who went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They say he was very close friends with Tsarnaev and Robel Phillipos, who also lived in the same building and faces charges in connection with the case.
"It was a brotherhood, really," said Francois, "They were just tight with each other."
"He was like close friends with them, people used to, even like our friends would like antagonize him and be like your friend bombed the marathon, so I’m just thinking they’re just trying to pull everybody in his cool with down," Lorenzo said.
Silva’s friend Visa Lorenzo says Silva knew he was under surveillance by the FBI for the past several months.
"When things first happened he was like, 'I don’t even smoke weed like that anymore, the FBI are on me, they’re bothering me, harassing me,' so he knew what was going on," Lorenzo said.
Silva's court-appointed attorney Jonathan Shapiro gave NECN a statement saying, "I am representing Stephen Silva, who is charged with a number of offenses, including the possession of a firearm in February 2013. According to news reports law enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used, some months later, in the MIT officer Sean Collier shooting. However, this has not been charged in the indictment. I am in the process of meeting with my client and reviewing the available evidence, which will eventually be presented in a court of law, in accordance with our system of justice. Out of respect for that system and for my client I cannot make any further comment on the case."
Shapiro said Silva is currently being held without bail. He's due back in court Aug. 6 for a detention hearing.