LAWRENCE — Two New Hampshire men were arrested Tuesday on drug possession and distribution charges after police said one of them sold crack cocaine to the other inside a Water Street market.
Samuel Encarnacion, 25, of 141 Phillips Road, Derry, was charged with distribution of a Class B drug, crack cocaine, and distribution within a school zone, while Kevin Natale, 53, of 36 Barbour Road, Hampton, N.H., was charged with possession of crack cocaine.
Police began following Natale around 11:30 a.m. after seeing him driving a white Buick Regal with New Hampshire plates down Ferry Street toward East Haverhill Street. They continued to follow him as he drove around the neighborhood, all the while talking on a cell phone.
Eventually, he pulled over on Water Street. Police were also following Encarnacion, who was on foot, and watched as he approached Natale’s car then did a quick about-face and went into Naya’s Market, at 140 Water St.
Natale drove off, but then returned, parked in front of Naya’s, and went inside the store.
Police said they believed that while the two men were inside the store for a couple of minutes, that they were conducting a drug transaction.
According to the police report by Det. Dean Murphy, “the street narcotics enforcement unit has investigated and effected arrests in which narcotics transactions have taken place inside of convenience stores.”
Natale left the store and got into his car, followed by police, who pulled him over on Broadway. At first, Natale refused to get out of the car, so police had to “escort the subject out of the vehicle,” the report said.
After speaking with the suspect, police searched him and found a single plastic twist of “what appeared to be Class B crack cocaine” from the man’s right front pocket, at which point Natale told police: “I bought it for 70 bucks from the guy inside the store.”
He was arrested and his vehicle towed from the scene.
Meanwhile, another surveillance unit continued to watch Encarnacion, who left Naya’s Market and got into a cab. Police pulled over the cab and as they approached it, noticed the man was “placing items into his mouth and swallowing.” Police said they believed he was attempting to swallow and destroy evidence.
They searched him and found $371 in cash and a Samsung cell phone.
Because the alleged sale occurred next door to the Lawrence Boys Club at 136 Water St., which has a family development program, he was charged with distribution within a school zone or park.