LENOX -- A shoplifting investigation led to a pair of drug arrests at a motel over the holiday weekend.
Ronald King, 53, of Pond Street, Pittsfield, was charged with trafficking in heroin, a felony, and driving with a suspended license. King has an extensive criminal record, much of it drug-related, said Lenox Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.
The heroin, weighing 11.3 ounces, had an estimated street value of about $6,300, the police report stated. King had $880 in his pocket, as well as four cellphones.
King was being held at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction on $10,000 bail Monday. Courts are closed in observance of Columbus Day.
Ebony Unique Hamilton, 32, also was arrested and charged with possession of heroin and cocaine, both misdemeanors. Hamilton was released on personal recognizance.
Both are due for arraignment at Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield on Tuesday.
During a routine patrol and motel check on Pittsfield Road (Routes 7 & 20) on Sunday morning, Officer Timothy Sheehan recognized King, a guest at Howard Johnson Inn, driving with a suspended license. King had previously been spotted on a Price Chopper surveillance video accompanying a female shoplifting suspect.
Sheehan, working with Officer John Willey, took King to his motel room and spotted liquor bottles consistent with what had been stolen in the shoplifting incident, said O'Brien. A female staying in the room was found not to have been involved in the shoplifting.
But, while in his cruiser checking for any outstanding arrest warrants, Sheehan saw King reach into a luggage bag and pull out several bundles of heroin which he stuffed into his pants, O'Brien said.
After officers Sheehan and Willey subdued and handcuffed King following a brief scuffle, the heroin was seized and the motel room was searched. A needle used for injecting heroin and a smoking pipe containing cocaine residue were found. Pittsfield police, including a canine sniffing for contraband, assisted in the search of the room and King's car.
"This was a significant amount of drugs taken off the street," O'Brien said. "It started with a very good shoplifting investigation and ended up with a very significant drug arrest, showing how one thing can lead to another and you end up with something much bigger than you thought you had."
The shoplifting case remains open, he added.
To contact Clarence Fanto:
firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto