BEVERLY — A Lowell man who was carrying nearly half a pound of heroin, and an EBT card that belonged to a Beverly drug user, was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to a drug trafficking charge.
Campeo Armando Diaz-Carola, 45, was originally facing a 15-year minimum mandatory term, but under a recent change in the drug laws and a charge reduction by prosecutors, received the eight-year term in a plea agreement accepted by Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy.
Diaz-Carola will then face deportation proceedings, his attorney, William Keefe, told the judge.
On the afternoon of April 20, 2012, Beverly Patrolman Thomas Nolan was in the North Beverly Plaza on Route 1A when he saw a Chrysler Pacifica pass with two men inside, who appeared to look “intently” at the officer, prosecutor Phil Mallard told the judge.
Nolan ran the license plate and recognized the name of the registered owner as a Lynn woman who had also been the registered owner of a vehicle used in a 2010 drug case he investigated, Mallard said.
He followed the minivan out the back of the shopping plaza to the nearby Beverly Commons apartment complex on Tozier Road, where he saw the two men get out.
As Nolan approached, he noticed that the driver, later identified as Diaz-Carola, appeared to be holding a knife in his pocket.
When the officer ordered the suspects to put their hands on their heads, Diaz-Carola was initially uncooperative. It took a threat of pepper spray to get him to comply, Mallard said.
But then, as Nolan was calling for backup, Diaz-Carola began running, dropping items as he ran, including his sunglasses, an iPhone, the keys to the Pacifica and a tin-foil wrapped package.
Police eventually tackled him and put him in custody, Mallard said.