HAVERHILL — Police said a city man drove to Maine each week to sell pain pills he received free through a state health program, and that he hid the pills inside containers with false bottoms.
When the man was arrested, he had a hollow cane with an illegal double-edged knife inside, police said.
But the man’s lawyer said police based their charges that he sold drugs in Maine on the word of confidential informants. The lawyer said his client hid his legally obtained pills because he was assaulted in his apartment last year and robbed of his medication. He was worried he might be robbed again, the lawyer said.
Police said the pills were hidden in containers that included a can of carpet cleaner.
Police have charged Gregory Davis, 52, of 10 Curtis Ave., with conspiring to sell Class B drugs with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate the drug laws and carrying a dangerous weapon (the double-edged knife). Officers said that when they searched his apartment, they found four containers with false bottoms, one of which contained a pill bottle and plastic bags stuffed inside to keep the bottle from rattling around.
At Davis’ arraignment Monday in Haverhill District Court, Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said Davis drove to Maine every Friday morning to sell pills and that he was receiving free health care from the state, which also paid for his prescriptions.
”He’s getting the pills for free it appears, and he tells us he has an eight-hour-a-day home health aide (paid for by the state),” DePaulo said.
Defense lawyer Christopher Holland said Davis has a significant health problem and is prescribed medication for rheumatoid arthritis. Holland said Davis also receives home health care for his disability.
”At the end of the day, he has 40 pills he’s lawfully able to possess,” Holland said in response to allegations that police found 41 oxycodone pills and 100 empty pill bottles inside Davis’ apartment.
”He’s very much disabled and gets pills, but he’s not too disabled to drive to Maine and sell the pills,” DePaulo said.
Police said they arrested Davis after a man stopped by his apartment to buy an oxycodone pill. Police said that after buying one pill, the man drove away from the apartment and was stopped by officers. Police said Davis also drove off and a low-speed chase ensued, during which Davis was looking around his front seat. When he finally stopped his car, he swallowed something while drinking a cup of coffee, police said.
”He was able to swallow what we believe were pills,” DePaulo said.
Police said Davis had $1,118 with him when he was arrested.
”Detectives have reliable information from two separate sources that the defendant (Davis) was on his way up to Maine to sell 75 pills,” DePaulo said. “He has a regular deal every Friday morning where he goes to Maine and sells 75 pills.”
DePaulo said that after police arrested Davis, he was taken to the hospital because police believed he had swallowed some of his pills.
DePaulo said that after Davis was arrested on Friday, police obtained a search warrant for his apartment. During a search of the apartment, detectives found several containers with false bottoms, including one that contained a prescription bottle labeled 20-mg oxycodone pills, and which prescribed that the medication be taken four or fives times a day. The bottle contained 41 pills, the police report said. Police said they also found an empty prescription bottle hidden in another false-bottom container and about 100 empty pill bottles in the apartment, along with a safe containing $167.
Holland said that when police stopped Davis’ car, he had just one pill on him. Holland refuted allegations by police that Davis was selling his legally prescribed medication or that he swallowed any pills before being arrested.
”They take him to the hospital and he seemed to be OK for somebody who swallowed 75 pills and was going to drive up to Maine,” Holland said.
Judge Patricia Dowling ordered Davis held on $7,500 cash bail. He is scheduled for a Jan. 10 pretrial hearing.