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By Brian Fraga
Standard-Times staff writer
September 04, 2008 6:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD - Maybe he should have just surrendered.
Edwin B. Quinones, 34, of Dorchester ran from police following an alleged cocaine transaction in the North End Tuesday night, court records said.
However, Mr. Quinones found himself in more trouble than he bargained for when he ran behind the 7-Eleven on Coggeshall Street and jumped into the Acushnet River. The current pulled him into a sewage drain, which he then waded 200 yards into before he realized he was lost and panicked, court records said.
Police Officer Christian Gomes of the Marine Unit arrived, donned a wet suit and waded through the sewage drain. Though he could not see the suspect, the officer could hear Mr. Quinones deep inside the tunnel yelling, "Help! Help!" Officer Gomes guided the suspect out with his flashlight.
As soon as he emerged from the tunnel, Mr. Quinones was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of cocaine, conspiracy, and resisting arrest, court records said.
New Bedford police spokesman Lt. Jeffrey P. Silva said he was impressed with Officer Gomes' effort to make the arrest.
"Many times over the years, people told me they wouldn't want my job for all the money in the world, and I disagreed. However, after hearing of what Officer Gomes had to endure to rescue this defendant, I would tend to agree," Lt. Silva said.
According to court records, narcotics detectives conducting surveillance of the McDonald's parking lot on Coggeshall Street saw Mr. Quinones, inside a white Jeep Cherokee, receive a paper bag from an unidentified man who had arrived in the lot minutes earlier.
Believing they had witnessed a drug deal, the detectives approached the suspects. The unidentified man fled the parking lot in a Ford Ranger and was last seen speeding west on Coggeshall Street, court records said. He was not caught.
Meanwhile, Detective Stanley Chaberek approached Mr. Quinones and ordered him to exit the vehicle. Detective Chaberek frisked the suspect and felt a bulge in his left front pants pocket, which turned out to be a prescription bottle filled with cocaine packaged for street-level sales, court records said.
When Detective Chaberek attempted to arrest Mr. Quinones, the suspect pulled away and a struggle ensued, court records said. Both men fell to the ground. Detective Chaberek grabbed the suspect's shirt, ripping it off his back. Mr. Quinones ran away, leaving the detective a short distance behind.
Detective Arthur Hegarty joined the chase, as did two correctional officers who saw the foot pursuit while they were driving on Coggeshall Street, court records said.
Giving multiple commands for him to stop, the officers chased Mr. Quinones up Coggeshall Street until they saw him jump into the Acushnet River. Additional officers from the Police Department's Organized Crime Intelligence Bureau and the Uniform Patrol Division arrived on the scene.
The Marine Unit also was notified. Sgt. Jill Simmons and Officer David Roy arrived in a 12-foot police boat. Officer Gomes, who already had responded and been briefed on the situation, donned his wet suit and went into the sewage drain to retrieve the suspect.
Police later seized $396 in cash from Mr. Quinones' person, court records said. He was transported to St. Luke's Hospital to receive medical treatment on his right arm, which had been in a cast. Police said the cast fell off after he went into the sewage pipe.
Meanwhile, Officer Gomes' wet suit, soiled beyond repair from sewage, had to be discarded, police said.
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