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Police & Fire

Man, Woman Nabbed With 1,000-Plus Packets Of Heroin In Western Mass Traffic Stop, Police Say

The drugs seized during the stop.
The drugs seized during the stop. Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police

A man and woman were busted for allegedly trafficking drugs following a routine traffic stop in Western Massachusetts that resulted in the discovery of more than 1,000 packets of heroin, according to authorities.

The arrests took place around 12:20 a.m. on Friday, May 7, when Trooper Tyler Hersom was on patrol on Route 91 in Whatley, said the Massachusetts State Police.

While traveling northbound, Hersom’s attention was drawn to a blue Chevy Equinox veering in and out of its lane. It was then that Hersom initiated a traffic stop, according to police.

During the stop, Hersom noticed the passenger moving around and repositioning her body as the vehicle slowed, police said.

When he approached the vehicle and spoke with the driver, identified as Tommy Newhall, age 37, of Chester, Vermont, to produce his license and registration, Newhall ignored the repeated instructions, until he revealed he did not have a license.

Around this time, Hersom was joined at the scene by Trooper Brendan O’Brien.

O’Brien identified the passenger as Jennifer West, age 36, of Claremont, New Hampshire. 

As the two troopers explained that the vehicle would have to be towed from the scene because neither was properly licensed, West continued moving her body and reaching for different items inside the vehicle, according to police. 

It was during this time, O’Brien saw what he believed to be a baggie containing cocaine in her purse and watched her remove it and stuff it in between the front seats, police said.

The two were ordered out of the vehicle and a search of the woman's purse turned up 20 bundles of heroin, police said.

Both were arrested and the troopers searched the vehicle where they found bundles of heroin ranging from 10 to 20 packets bound with rubber bands, according to police.

A K9 unit handler Gregory Valentine was called to the scene to have his partner conduct a sniff of the vehicle. 

The K9 found an additional bundle of heroin, a container filled with cocaine, and the original bag West was attempting to hide in the center console, said police. 

In total, 1,008 individual packets of heroin, 7 grams of cocaine, and 1 gram of Xanax were seized, police said. 

Newhall was charged with:

  • Trafficking in heroin;
  • Possession of cocaine;
  • Conspiracy to violate drug laws;
  • Marked lanes violation; and
  • Unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

West was charged with:

  • Trafficking in heroin;
  • Possession of cocaine;
  • Possession of Xanax; and
  • Conspiracy to violate drug laws.

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