Haverhill Man Nearly Chokes Trying to Swallow Drugs He Allegedly Hid From Police During Arrest

(Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

A city man well-known to police caused a scene in the middle of Main Street traffic last week when Haverhill Police narcotics detectives arrested him for fentanyl possession—and according to Det. Dana Burrill Jr., he didn’t go down without a fight.

Moises Santana Haverhill Police booking photograph.

Burrill was among the narcotics detectives conducting surveillance near 389 Main St. on Sept. 27 around 7:30 p.m. when the unit became suspicious 32-year-old Moises Santana was involved in a suspected drug deal. Once Santana turned from Fifth Avenue onto Main Street, Burrill identified himself and grabbed Santana’s wrist, asking to talk to him, to which Santana replied “What? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

He then pulled away and headed toward Main Street into oncoming traffic, causing cars to “slam on their brakes,” the officer said. Det. Matthew Woodman assisted Burrill in restraining Santana and in the process, Woodman’s flashlight and both detectives’ police radios were strewn across Main Street’s travel lane.

As Burrill and Woodman attempted to arrest Santana, they discovered he was hiding drugs in his mouth. When Woodman pinched his nose, two plastic bags containing a tan powder believed to be fentanyl came “flying out of his mouth” and onto the hood of a parked car. Santana then smashed his own face on top of the bags and nearly choked as he attempted to swallow them, police said.

Burrill and Woodman were forced to deliver “several closed fist strikes” to Santana’s head and a knee strike to his body to finally subdue and handcuff him. Once under arrest, he was also found to be in possession of a Suboxone strip, for which he did not have a prescription.

In addition to two drug possession charges, Santana was arraigned by Judge Patricia Dowling on a charge of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and destruction of property and will serve 20 days in the House of Correction after admitting to sufficient facts on those charges. He was also arraigned on a fugitive from justice charge and is being transported to New Hampshire where he faces a sentence out of Rockingham County.

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