BEVERLY — Two men are facing charges after Beverly police detectives and an Ipswich detective spotted them engaging in what appeared to be a drug deal late Wednesday night, prosecutors say.
But while police are pretty certain about the identity of the man they say was the customer, Scott Gilbert, 30, of 215 Rantoul St., Beverly, who is charged with one count of possession of cocaine, they're less sure about the alleged seller.
Joaquin Guerrero Mercedes, 32, of Lynn is facing charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine, driving without a license and making a false application for a vehicle document (a learner's permit).
Police Detectives Thomas Nolan and Sgt. Michael Cassola and Ipswich Detective Ted Gallivan were conducting surveillance on Rantoul Street near the Beverly train depot when they saw an Acura registered to a Lynn woman pull into the One Stop Market and wait, according to a police report.
They eventually noticed a man approach and get inside. The car then pulled out and drove away. The detectives followed.
The Acura took a quick right and then started to stop, as the passenger jumped out while the car was still rolling. Police believe he panicked. They then saw the passenger throw several items back into the car.
Police said they later found three small "twists" of cocaine on the passenger side of the car and another 12 twists hidden in a "hide-a-key" container near the driver's seat. They also found two cell phones and some cash — $100 of which was in Mercedes' hand as the officers pulled up.
Police say that documents found on Mercedes, including his learner's permit and a state-issued Massachusetts identification card, contain different Social Security numbers and different dates of birth.
Police also found a copy of a driver's license issued by the United States Virgin Islands, indicating that Mercedes is from the Dominican Republic.
Mercedes' lawyer, Lawrence Perlmutter, argued that the different numbers are because of a mistake by the Registry of Motor Vehicles in entering the number 7 instead of a 1.
"He's not trying to hide anything," said Perlmutter, who also explained that police have misinterpreted his name.
Mercedes posted $5,000 cash bail shortly after his arraignment and was released, and is due back in court on May 27.
Gilbert, who was held on $250 cash bail, hadn't posted it as of yesterday afternoon.