MANCHESTER — The drug dealer shot and killed by Weare police last week was no stranger to botched drug deals.
Twice in the last four years, Nashua police arrested Alex Cora DeJesus following multiple drug sales. The amounts were small, the drugs were hard, and the buyers were confidential informants.
DeJesus, 35, pleaded guilty after both arrests, received suspended sentences and recommendations for drug counseling.
Those who knew DeJesus said he didn't have the guns or intimidating swagger that one envisions at the words "drug dealer."
"For somebody who was dealing in drugs and supposedly had a lot of money, he was behind on his rent and living hand to mouth," said D.T. Jsirandanis, principal broker of The Resource Companies, who leased DeJesus an apartment at 453 Maple St.
Jsirandanis said DeJesus lacked the jitters, fast talking and constant sniffing of a cocaine addict. He was not violent and had no guns, his landlord said.
"If they had said he was armed, I wouldn't have believed it," Jsirandanis said. "He was just a laid-back guy who made money the easy way."
Authorities have said the shooting took place late Wednesday night during an undercover heroin deal at the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot on Route 114 in Weare. They said confidential informants set up the drug deal for Weare police, and police shot DeJesus in the head as he tried to leave.
Investigators aren't expected to provide details about the shooting until a preliminary investigation is completed. That could take weeks.
Most of his acquaintances said they weren't surprised that DeJesus was involved with drugs. But they described him as quiet, nice or friendly.
"I know he did that, but he was still a good person," said a woman who gave only her first name, Betty, and lived in his apartment building on Maple Street. DeJesus addressed her as 'Ma'am and carried groceries upstairs for her, he said.
"He was nice to everybody. He always said hello. You know why he was shot? It (Weare) is a little tiny town and he's Spanish," Betty said.
Manuel Gonzalez, owner of R&E Grocery on the corner of Merrimack and Maple streets, said DeJesus was nice. He came in often, buying a pack of Newport cigarettes and either a single Corona or Heineken beer, Gonzalez said.
"I didn't think he was selling; he was doing," Gonzalez said, noting that DeJesus had lost a lot of weight quickly and was about 120 pounds.
According to records at Hillsborough County Superior Court South, Nashua police arrested DeJesus in 2009 and 2011.
Both times, felony charges followed multiple undercover drug deals to informants. Sales involved less than a half-ounce of cocaine and ranged from $80 to $180.
Heriberto Ozoria, owner of Eddy's Hair Salon, said he hired DeJesus out of a halfway house. DeJesus worked at the Maple Street barber shop for about five months, before Ozoria fired him this past spring."He did a good job (cutting hair). I don't know why he didn't keep it as a profession," Ozoria said. But DeJesus came in late to work and wouldn't listen to Ozoria. His boss suspected him of drug use, perhaps marijuana.
"I tried to help him, told him 'Take it easy.' He did not listen," Ozoria said. He described DeJesus as quiet.
DeJesus lived in an upstairs apartment on a two-story building on Maple Street between Hanover and Amherst streets. The names on the mailbox read Cora DeJesus and Scott, although the neighbor, Betty, said he lived alone.
Jsirandanis said he rented to DeJesus in March. He said there was always a question of drug activity going on in the apartment. At one point, Manchester police and fire raided it with hazardous-materials suits when someone claimed to smell methamphetamine being cooked.
But nothing came of it, Jsirandanis said.
The landlord said DeJesus' distraught father came by Friday and asked to gather his son's belongings. But when Jsirandanis opened the apartment, it had been burglarized. A safe was smashed, TVs were gone, and clothes were strewn around the apartment.
"I really feel bad about it," Jsirandanis said. "He's dead for being a low-level heroin guy."
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent Kimberly Houghton contributed to this article.