, Newburyport, MA

December 12, 2012

Salisbury pair arrested on heroin charges

One suspect allegedly swallowed drugs in cell

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — A Salisbury woman caught allegedly dealing heroin outside Immaculate Conception School Friday night tried to get rid of the evidence by swallowing eight bags of the powerful narcotic while being booked at the Newburyport police station, according to the department.

Amanda N. Lewis, 20, of Central Avenue, was rushed to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, where surgery was performed to remove the bags from her body, according to the police report of officer Joshua Tierney.

Lewis was eventually charged with heroin distribution, conspiracy to violate drug laws and a drug violation near a school or park. An alleged accomplice, Christian A. Kelley of Kendall Lane, Salisbury, was arrested as well and faces the same charges.

Upon their arrest outside the Market Street school, police impounded the pair’s vehicle and found $1,750 in cash on Kelley along with paraphernalia consistent with the sale of drugs. A dog inside the vehicle was taken into custody by the city’s animal control officer, according to police.

During the booking process, Lewis allegedly began crying and was wiping her eyes when she shoved bags of heroin down her throat. An attempt by police to stop her from swallowing the bags failed, but Lewis was able to convince police that she had not swallowed anything and was merely wiping her eyes.

After she was placed in a holding cell, the dispatcher on duty who was watching Lewis on video camera noticed she was trying to make herself throw up. When police rushed to her cell, she confessed to hiding bags of heroin in her bra and then swallowing them. An ambulance was called and Lewis was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, according to court documents.

City Marshal Thomas Howard would not disclose details of the incident leading to the arrests, saying they are part of a larger effort to curtail the sale of heroin within city limits. Howard did say the suspects are known drug dealers in the area.

“They’ve been up to bat before,” Howard said.

Making the arrests were officers John Gavin, Christopher McDonald, Inspector Michael Sugrue and Sgt. Stephen Chaisson. Both suspects were arraigned Monday at Newburyport District Court, posted bail and are expected back on Jan. 11 for pretrial hearings.