Three men arrested after alleged drug deal in downtown Amherst

Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
AMHERST — Three men were arrested on disorderly conduct charges following an alleged drug deal in a downtown alley early Saturday morning, police said.

Eli Alexander Berman, 25, of Greenfield; Cuong T. Ly, 26, of 43 Hadley Road, Unit 93, Sunderland; and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, 19, of Lord Jeffery Apartments, Unit P10, Belchertown, were all arrested at 1:39 a.m. on charges of disorderly conduct, said Detective Richard MacLean.

Berman also faces a charge of resisting arrest, and Ly also faces a charge of obstruction of justice, MacLean said.

Police patrolling downtown saw the apparent drug deal in the alley between the Unitarian Universalist Society and the 103 Shops building, MacLean said. “Officers observed what appeared to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction,” he added.

When officers attempted to search Berman for drugs, he struggled and then ran across North Pleasant Street and was taken into custody in front of St. Brigid’s Church, MacLean said.

Several other men at the scene yelled at officers, creating a disturbance, and Ly allegedly interfered with the police work, Mac-Lean said.

A small quantity of marijuana was recovered at the scene, Mac-Lean added.

The incident involved several of the same men who have been the subject of several calls from concerned downtown business owners in recent weeks. Ly was arrested Wednesday afternoon downtown after riding a pink motor scooter while under the influence of alcohol, with a suspended license and without a helmet.

Meanwhile, a fight at 1:19 a.m. Saturday in front of Antonio’s Pizza, 31 North Pleasant St., involving a few other men, ended before police got there. One man was punched in the face but told police he did not want to press charges against his assailant.