Officers arrest wanted man on drug charges
A convicted mainland felon, arrested on cocaine possession charges while on a previous visit to Martha's Vineyard, is back in jail. Oak Bluffs police arrested Joshua T. Downs of Dartmouth and New Bedford on drug charges, following a scuffle Saturday in Oak Bluffs.
According to Oak Bluffs police Lt. Tim Williamson, about 9:30 pm, police officer Jeff Trudel was working Circuit Avenue when he spotted Mr. Downs sitting inside the Island House, a popular Circuit Avenue restaurant and bar.
Based on a periodic review of police reports, Officer Trudel knew that Mr. Downs had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Fall River District Court.
After confirming the warrant, Officer Trudel, along with Oak Bluffs police officers Steve Conley, Jeff LaBell and Douglas Dolan, approached Mr. Downs and asked him to leave the bar and speak with them outside.
Mr. Downs cooperated at first but suddenly bolted for the door with his hand in his front pocket, said police. A struggle ensued between the police and Mr. Downs on busy Circuit Avenue.
After police handcuffed Mr. Downs, the officers found a bag on the ground that contained 13 individually wrapped bags of cocaine, according to the police report.
Police arrested Mr. Downs, 32, on an outstanding warrant that charged him with threatening to commit a crime and with possession with intent to distribute Class B (cocaine, subsequent offense).
Police also charged Mr. Downs with assault and battery on a police officer (Mr. LaBell), disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Mr. Downs was arraigned Monday in Edgartown District Court. Yesterday he remained in the Dukes County jail with bail set at $10,000.
Lieutenant Williamson said the officers work hard to stay informed. He said the arrest is an example of their efforts. "If it hadn't been for good heads-up police work by our officers to identify a wanted individual," he said, "Mr. Downs may have continued about his business undetected."
Police will ask that the case be moved to Superior Court, said Lieutenant Williamson.
According to Oak Bluffs police, Mr. Downs was released from state prison in March after serving time for a drug distribution conviction, following an arrest in March 2005 by officers with the Martha's Vineyard Drug Task Force.
In a story published April 6, 2005, The Times reported on the arrest of Mr. Downs following a three-week investigation for possession to distribute cocaine.
At the time, State Police Sgt. Neal Maciel said that Mr. Downs has a "very lengthy and violent" criminal record.