A Massachusetts man is now facing drug charges after police stopped him for reportedly being involved in a shoplifting incident at Mansfield Commons. The 25-year-old man is being accused of acting as the getaway driver for another person who allegedly shoplifted a tablet from Best Buy.
Police stopped the car on Feb. 10 at the corner of School Street and Route 140 and reportedly found the tablet among several items that were allegedly tossed out of the car before it stopped. Officers apparently obtained a search warrant for the car the next day and found eight 1-gram bags of heroin underneath the dashboard of the car. The drugs were allegedly in a pill bottle and covered with a paper towel.
The 25-year-old was arrested on Feb. 12, when he came to pick up the car from the police station and has been charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. The man entered his plea of not guilty to the charges in Attleboro District Court on Feb. 13 and was being held on a $200 cash bail.
The defendant's attorney is challenging the grounds for the search, asking why officers kept searching the car after nothing was found during the "inventory" search after the man's initial arrest. The attorney also pointed out that the drugs may have belonged to the other passenger in the car. The man could be facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the drug charge, and the case will continue on Feb. 28.
While it's not clear if there will be additional charges related to the alleged theft of the tablet or if the other passenger in the car is also facing charges, theft crimes can have far-reaching consequences in and of themselves. The drug charges certainly add another element to this case, however, and the attorney's questioning of the legality of the search performed on the car may help establish a solid criminal defense.
Source: The Sun Chronicle, "Mansfield shoplifting suspect now faces heroin distribution charges" David Linton, Feb. 13, 2014