MANSFIELD — A shoplifting suspect arrested earlier this week, now faces drug charges after police say they found a hidden stash of suspected heroin in his car.
Eliezer Garcia-Rivas, 25, of Charlestown, was ordered held in jail on $200 cash bail today after pleading innocent in Attleboro District Court to possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
Police say they found eight 1-gram bags in a pill bottle tucked under the dashboard near the steering wheel of his car. The alleged drug stash was covered with a paper towel.
Police had obtained a search warrant for the car Tuesday and arrested Garcia-Rivas Wednesday when he came to the police station to pick up his car.
The grounds for the search were questioned by Garcia-Rivas’s lawyer.
Garcia-Rivas had been arrested Monday when police stopped his car on Route 140 and School Street after a shoplifting report at Mansfield Commons.
Police allege he was the getaway driver for an alleged accomplice who is suspected of stealing an electronic tablet from Best Buy.
The tablet, which was recovered, was among items that were thrown out of the car before police stopped it, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor Brianna Correira said police continued to investigate because items were thrown from the car. She said the packaging of the suspected heroin was consistent with street-level drug sales.
Correira requested $1,000 cash bail, arguing that the defendant was a threat to the community “given the numerous recent heroin-related deaths” and that he faced incarceration, if convicted.
The maximum penalty is 10 years in a state prison, according to court records.
The search warrant was obtained after the investigation by detectives Sgt. Larry Crosman, John Armstrong and Kenneth Wright. Crosman is one of the officers who arrested Garcia-Rivas in the shoplifting case.
Fall River lawyer Gregory DiPaolo, who represents Garcia-Rivas, questioned why police continued to search the vehicle when nothing was found during an “inventory” search after his client’s arrest.
DiPaolo noted there was a passenger in the car when his client was arrested who could be responsible for the alleged contraband. He said no money, cell phones or other items consistent with drug distribution were found on his client.
DiPaolo said his client could not afford bail, had no criminal record prior to the shoplifting arrest and should be released on his own recognizance.
Judge Daniel O’Shea set bail at $200 cash or $2,000 surety and continued the case to Feb. 28.