PITTSFIELD >> A North Adams man who was found with about 1,200 bags of heroin during two different arrests has been sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Tony Mejias, 35, was arrested following a traffic stop in North Adams in September, and again following another traffic stop just last month.
In the first stop, North Adams Police pulled Mejias' vehicle over for speeding Sept. 15, and discovered he had been driving with a suspended license.
During a pat-frisk, an object was detected in Mejias' pocket, which he said was a cellphone.
Instead, police found 251 bags of heroin, stamped with the words "American Gangster," with an approximate street value of $2,500, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory M. Barry.
In the latter case, investigators received a tip that a particular vehicle was going to be leaving North Adams for Springfield, where a large amount of heroin was going to be purchased.
Police observed the targeted vehicle leave North Adams about 8:45 p.m. May 9, and spotted it returning to the area about 12:10 a.m. The vehicle, in which Mejias was a passenger, was pulled over for speeding.
A police search dog reacted to a backpack that contained 977 bags of heroin. Mejias admitted the backpack was his.
He pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday to two counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and one count each of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Judge Maureen Hogan accepted the agreed-upon sentencing recommendation of three to four years in state prison, reached between Barry and Mejias' attorney, Edmund St. John IV.
Mejias will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.