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Published: September 10, 2008 05:00 am ShareThisPrintThis
Monthlong investigation nets two cocaine arrests
By Bruno Matarazzo Jr.
Staff Writer

SALEM - Residents' complaints from as far back as two years ago eventually prompted two arrests yesterday, following a monthlong undercover drug investigation.
Police arrested two men yesterday around 4 p.m. on Philips Street in the Mack Park area after a motor-vehicle stop. The two were involved in the hand-to-hand drug transactions with undercover officers, police said.
Detective Sgt. Stephen Bona led the investigation.
William A. Ramos, 36, of 4 Vine Ave., Roxbury, and Edward Mercado, 27, of 106 Lafayette St., Salem, are each being held on $10,000 bail and will be arraigned today at Salem District Court. Ramos is charged with three counts of cocaine distribution, and Mercado faces two counts of the same charge.
"There's different places they would meet them (drug buyers) around town," Detective Bill Jennings said. "We finally got somebody into them and made some undercover buys. There were a lot of neighborhood calls."
The charges stem from previous undercover drug purchases, Jennings said. He added that no drugs were found on either suspect or in the car.
Jennings alleged Ramos, who was driving the car and locked the door when police approached, swallowed the drugs.
Police did seize approximately $200 in cash, the 2004 Toyota Camry the suspects were riding in and cell phones, which repeatedly rang.
Jennings said detectives answered the calls and responded to the callers' location to confirm Ramos as the one they purchased drugs from.
Police had been circling around Ramos for years after a number of vehicles and license plate numbers, identified by neighbors, came back to Ramos or at his address in Boston.
Jennings said Ramos would often change his license plate number with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. He changed his number most recently on Monday.
Jennings said Ramos would make purchases in side streets along Federal Street, North Street and Boston Street on the assumption residents were all in school or work.
Along with Bona and Jennings, detectives Capt. Paul Tucker, Lt. Tom Griffin, Sgt. James Page, Eric Connolly, John Doyle and Tom Brennan assisted. Also taking part were Patrolman Mike Levesque and members of the Essex County Sheriff's Department, as well as a drug-sniffing dog.
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