NORTH ADAMS >> Five people, including three members of a suspected drug distribution operation, are facing charges following their arrest and the seizure of more than 400 bags of heroin.
Police had been investigating Joshua Stimpson, 29, of Pittsfield, and Courtney Tatro, 21, of Clarksburg, since March, and Gavin Mahar, 23, of North Adams, since April, according to a probable cause report filed by North Adams Police Officer Joshua Zustra.
Police believed Stimpson and Tatro were utilizing two vehicles to transport heroin from the Holyoke area to North Adams, while Mahar was suspected of selling heroin with and for Stimpson in North Adams.
Based on tips from several informants, police learned that Stimpson would be traveling to Holyoke on Monday, using two vehicles, to purchase heroin.
Members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force followed the two vehicles as they drove around the South Hadley area allegedly purchasing drugs, the report states. After tailing the two vehicles for much of the journey back to North Adams, police stopped both vehicles on Route 8.
One driver, Kayla Malloy, 29, of North Adams, initially said she had driven to South Hadley in an attempt to sell her Buick Century, but she eventually admitted she had gone to purchase drugs, according to the report.
Alysha Orvis, who was a passenger, allegedly told police that they had traveled to her niece's birthday party in Connecticut. Orvis eventually admitted to holding about 500 bags of heroin in her clothing, the report said.
Police delayed searching Orvis after she admitted holding drugs so that she could be searched by a female detective at the station. But she told officers when she arrived that she had swallowed 15 bags of heroin in the back of a cruiser.
Orvis was transported to the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center and later brought to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield for further treatment, according to the report. Her condition was not stated in the report; her arraignment was delayed until July 1.
Detectives seized 445 bags of heroin from Orvis' pants, according to the police report, in addition to five bags taken during the initial stop.
Tatro, driver of the second vehicle, a Ford Expedition, allegedly told officers that she and Stimpson were visiting his family in Springfield. Tatro denied that there were drugs in the vehicle. Stimpson also denied holding drugs, but said that he had been visiting his mother in Pittsfield prior to the stop, according to the police report.
Stimpson pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to charges of possession to distribute a class A drug, subsequent offense, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Judge Paul H. Smyth ordered him to be held on $15,000 cash bail.
Mahar, Malloy and Tatro each pleaded not guilty to charges of possession to distribute a class A drug and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Tatro was ordered held on $2,500 cash bail. Mahar's bail was set at $10,000 cash, and Malloy was released on $250 cash bail.
Mahar, Stimpson and Malloy are due to appear in court on July 29 for a pretrial hearing and Tatro is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on July 27.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.