Traffic stop leads to drug, weapons charges for Pittsfield man


PITTSFIELD — A traffic stop for a broken taillight earlier this month has left a city man facing drug and weapons charges after police found him with cocaine and a loaded .22 caliber revolver.

Samuel Rivera, 20, of Daniels Avenue, was pulled over about 7:40 p.m. Jan. 2 by state troopers who spotted him driving a white Ford sedan with a cracked left taillight lens.

The vehicle went through a stop sign, accelerated and made an abrupt turn in an apparent attempt to evade police, according to a criminal complaint in the case.

Both troopers involved in the stop reported seeing Rivera make "quick, unjustifiable" movements inside the car, raising concerns he was possibly retrieving or hiding a weapon or some other illegal item.

Troopers also spotted a black and gold facemask in the back seat of the vehicle, which was seized pending further investigation, according to the police report.

Rivera was ordered out of the car and searched and troopers recovered a package with what appeared to be cocaine. When troopers first noticed the package in Rivera's pants pocket during a pat frisk, he allegedly told them it contained his mother's medication.

A search of the driver's seat area found the weapon, loaded with six rounds of ammunition, police said.

Rivera allegedly admitted the weapon was his and he'd paid $300 for it and was carrying it in his car for protection due to recent violence in the area.

He admitted he had neither a license to carry a firearm nor a firearms identification card, police said.

Rivera told police he had only recently started selling cocaine to make money for himself. He said he purchased the cocaine for $200 and was planning to sell it for about $500, police said.

Rivera was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

He was ordered held on the same $5,000 bail set for him at his district court arraignment on Jan. 4.

A passenger in the vehicle was given a citation for a seat belt violation and released.

Rivera is due back in court on April 20 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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