Packets Of Cocaine Swallowed Before Scuffle, Officers Say
POSTED: 7:48 am EDT October 20, 2005
UPDATED: 8:10 am EDT October 20, 2005
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- A Lawrence man died Thursday after he swallowed cocaine just before and during a struggle with state police officers attempting to arrest him and keep him from swallowing packages of the drug, authorities said.
The Essex County District Attorney's office said police were in front of a residence waiting for a warrant to search for drugs when Hernan Rivera, 39, pulled up in a car officers had observed during an ongoing drug investigation.
When a state police detective approached, Rivera began to swallow packets of drugs, the district attorney's office said.
The officer tried to stop Rivera, and struggled with him in the front seat of the car.
A second officer joined the fray, but the pair couldn't subdue Rivera, whom they described as a "very heavy man," and called for backup from Lawrence police.
The district attorney's office said the officers subdued and handcuffed Rivera and removed several packages of cocaine from his mouth.
Rivera then stopped breathing, and the officers removed the handcuffs and began administering CPR. Rivera was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital at about 2:15 p.m., the district attorney's office said.
An autopsy was scheduled Thursday in Boston, and the case also was being investigated by Lawrence police and state police.
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