TAUNTON – Police have made yet another drug-related arrest in a retail parking lot near Winthrop Street/Route 44.
The latest bust took place Sunday shortly after 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Hannaford supermarket at 255 Joseph E. Warner Blvd.
Previous drug arrests this year went down in an adjacent plaza at 294 Winthrop St. that includes AutoZone Auto Parts, Dollar Tree and Platinum City Gaming. Police have noted that hand-to-hand drug transactions often take place in busy parking lots where drug dealers and buyers try to blend in with retail shoppers.
The latest incident resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Donald E. Santin, whose last known address is 84 Highland Ave.
Police say they were in unmarked cars when they noticed three vehicles parked next to one another on the side of the supermarket.
After one of them, a black Mercedes, drove away the other two drove around the building and parked not far from one of the police officers.
Police say a man later identified as Santin exited a Jeep and got into a Nissan Sentra.
Two undercover officers then approached the Sentra from either side and observed Santin and another male engaging in an alleged drug transaction.
Police say Santin was told to stay in the car but instead got out and put both arms up “in an aggressive manner.”
During a brief struggle, Santin allegedly shoved the officer and began to run.
Police say they arrested Santin after he lost his footing and fell on the sidewalk.
Another struggle ensued, at which time “several citizens exited their vehicles asking to help,” police said.
After being handcuffed, police say Santin told them he had been in possession of the prescription painkiller Percocet pills.
Police say while walking toward a patrol car Santin dropped a plastic baggie containing 26 Percocet pills with a street value of $30 each.
They said they also confiscated $2,356 in cash from Santin.
While this was happening, police said, another officer found the black Mercedes, which was being driven slowly in a parking lot across the street.
Police say the woman driving the Mercedes identified herself as Santin’s pregnant girlfriend.
She allegedly “had a less than pleasant attitude towards the police” but shortly thereafter “calmed down some.”
Police say they searched the car after the woman’s mother showed up on scene and removed two pit bull dogs from the vehicle.
No narcotics were found, police said, and she was allowed to leave.
The man driving the Sentra told cops he had intended to buy marijuana, and not Percocet pills, from Santin. He was neither arrested nor cited.
Santin previously was arrested for trafficking heroin of more than 36 grams but less than 100 grams and possession to distribute a Class D drug, according to the magistrate’s office of Taunton District Court.
Both charges were dropped in 2018, records show.