LEWISTON – Two men were arrested Friday afternoon after allegedly trying to conduct a drug deal inside a downtown supermarket.

Undercover police and drug agents spent part of the day keeping the men under surveillance after learning they were planning to exchange money for crack cocaine at Shaw’s on East Avenue.

Queancy “Smokey” Barefield, 49, of 47 Spruce St., and 31-year-old David Norman of Sand Pond Road in Farmington were each charged with attempted aggravated trafficking in crack.

No actual drug deal took place, and no drugs were seized, police said.

The two men were arrested after leaving the store. Police and drug agents with guns drawn surrounded Barefield’s vehicle as he tried to drive away. No shots were fired as Barefield was taken into custody.

Investigators said the men met inside Shaw’s about 1:30 p.m. where they planned to make arrangements for Barefield to sell Norman crack. Officers from the Lewiston police Selective Enforcement Team as well as local and federal drug agents were inside and outside the store, watching the men from a distance.

Police said it was coincidental that the two men met at the grocery store. It appeared they chose a supermarket because they wanted to meet in a public place, investigators said.

“It really has nothing to do with Shaw’s at all,” Bussiere said.

The charges against the two men are considered aggravated because of the proximity from the arrest site to a local school. Martel Elementary School is just a few hundred feet from Shaw’s, at the corner of East Avenue and Lisbon Street.

Both men remained jailed Friday night. Investigators plan to turn the case over to officials from U.S. District Court for review.

Police said Barefield, who has prior convictions for gross sexual assault, drug dealing and other charges, could be classified as a career criminal under federal guidelines.

Barefield was convicted in a 1991 attack during which investigators say he followed a 42-year-old woman home, removed a Plexiglas window from a back door, entered and raped the woman.

Bussiere said Friday’s bust, involving the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force as well as Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, is part of an ongoing effort to nab key suspects in the local drug trade.

“They’ve been picking off cocaine targets almost on a daily basis lately,” the deputy chief said. “It’s a sign of how the drug problem has been recently.”

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