Lawrence Police Officer Arrested on Federal Charges After Cocaine Deals

John Desantis Jr. allegedly shook down an informant for cocaine.

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Photo by Kyle Clauss

A Lawrence police officer was arrested just before midnight Thursday on federal extortion charges, after he allegedly shook down a confidential FBI informant for three bags of cocaine.

John Desantis Jr., 43, of Methuen, has been a member of the department since 1999. The informant told authorities he had been selling Desantis cocaine “once or twice per week for the past 10 to 12 months,” which Desantis paid for using personal checks issued by Service Credit Union, according to court papers obtained by the Eagle-Tribune.

According to the criminal complaint filed by FBI special agent John Walker, Desantis brought the informant into the living room and kitchen of his Methuen home on May 16, before he “lifted his shirt to reveal a handgun and what appeared to be a police badge on his belt,” along with his police ID.


The complaint states that the informant feared Desantis was either “an authentic police officer who would arrest him or a police imposter who intended to rob him.” Desantis proceeded to pat down the informant and take from him a bag of powdered cocaine and two bags of crack, the complaint says.

Desantis has been placed on unpaid leave, Chief James Fitzpatrick told the Eagle-Tribune.