By Dave Rogers STAFF WRITER
Newburyport Daily News
---- — AMESBURY — A three-month investigation into the activities of a local cocaine dealer ended Thursday afternoon in a parking lot when the Lincoln Court man and his two accomplices were arrested following a sting operation, according to police.
Joseph A. Locke II, 20, of Amesbury; Kayla Elizabeth Mitchell, 18, of 8 Cameron Ave., Dracut; and David Aponte, 23, of 4 Lonvale Lane, B4A102, Amesbury; were charged with conspiracy to violate the drug law and cocaine distribution. Locke was also charged with a previous warrant based on past drug sales and possession of cocaine. All three were arraigned in Newburyport District Court on Friday, according to police.
“He was putting out a lot of product,” Amesbury police Lt. Jeffrey Worthen said of Locke.
According to Worthen, an undercover police officer posed as a drug buyer and set up a meeting with Locke at the Andyman bakery’s parking lot. Police chose the Andyman parking lot because it is easily observable. The bakery has no connection or involvement with Locke.
Following the fake buy, police swooped in and arrested the trio shortly before 6 p.m. Worthen added that Locke, who resisted slightly, was in possession of at least two eight-balls worth of cocaine upon his arrest. No weapons were found, Worthen added.
Eight-ball is slang for one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine. Assisting local police were officers from the neighboring Salisbury Police Department.
“It was outstanding work, they put a lot of time and effort in this case,” Worthen said of all the officers involved.
Responding to the scene were Amesbury officers Ronald Guilmette, Raymond Landry,Thomas Nichols, Craig Lesage, Steven Reed and detectives David Pare and Robert Wile.
In early 2010, Locke and a Newburyport teen were instrumental in helping local police retrieve three shotguns, a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition stolen by former Amesbury High School students from houses in Amesbury and Haverhill. Locke, then 17 years old, was issued a summons for two counts of breaking and entering of a building to commit a felony and two counts of larceny over $250.
Police were able to retrieve the weapons in a Congress Street garage after detectives worked with one of the suspect’s attorneys. It was Locke and the other teen who helped police retrieve the weapons and ammunition, according to police. The two students were arrested inside Amesbury High School after a late-morning class. Then-Lt. Mark Gagnon, currently Amesbury’s police chief, said the suspects were led out of their classroom by a teacher and handed over to police. who arrested them without incident.
Last month, Locke was one of 12 people arrested at a Route 1A sobriety checkpoint conducted by New Hampshire state police in Seabrook. Locke was charged with possession and transportation of a controlled drug and operating after suspension.