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Suspect in Pittsfield drug, vehicle-smashing case denied bail

PITTSFIELD — A city man accused of dumping a shoebox containing trafficking-weight narcotics and a firearm won’t be released from pretrial incarceration.

Late last week, a judge approved prosecutors’ request to hold Jovan Rodriguez, 25, without the right to bail. The Pittsfield resident faces 10 felony charges, including drug trafficking and illegally possessing a loaded firearm.

Rodriguez was arrested in a wooded area behind 122 Dewey Ave. the morning of Jan. 8, after leading police on pursuit in a vehicle and on foot. The ordeal began to unfold just after 9:30 a.m., at Third and Lake streets.

Police said there was a disagreement between Rodriguez and a woman who his defense attorney said is the mother of his child.

Rodriguez, according to Assistant District Attorney R. Talmadge Reeves, allegedly rammed his vehicle into the woman’s car. He said Rodriguez had been chasing the woman around the neighborhood and that she had been trying to get away.

After her vehicle came to a stop along a guardrail on Third Street, Rodriguez smashed the front passenger-side window and “began rummaging around inside and screaming at her,” Reeves said.

A FedEx driver who was in the area told police that Rodriguez took a shoebox from the woman’s car and walked behind a nearby building. Reeves said the driver reported that Rodriguez did not have the shoebox with him when he returned.

In a shed behind the building, police found a shoebox that indicated a match for the pair of shoes Rodriguez was wearing that day. Reeves said that, in the box, was a 9 mm Glock handgun with an extended magazine, 1,150 bags of packaged heroin and 20 bags of crack cocaine.

Rodriguez fled as authorities arrived at the crash site, and was taken into custody in the west side of the city after the short pursuit.

During a dangerousness hearing Thursday, before Judge Jennifer Tyne in Central Berkshire District Court, defense lawyer Marc Vincelette raised questions about the credibility of the witness, noting a police report in which an officer says the witness appears not to be offering to police a complete picture of what happened.

“She’s being dishonest with the police officers, not telling the police officers the full story,” he said. “She’s walking free while my client sits in jail.”

Vincelette said his client was not the person who was driving with the shoebox filled with illicit items, adding that “the only thing that’s witnessed” is Rodriguez carrying a shoebox from the woman’s car to the back of the residence.

“Did he make a mistake? Was he wrong and smashing a window to get into a car? Yes, absolutely. But, the basis of these charges and the severity of these charges is based on the guns and the drugs together,” Vincelette said. “That, your honor, is only in my client’s possession for a very, very brief period of time.”

Reeves also presented evidence about Rodriguez’s previous involvement with the court, which, he said, included receiving a six-month suspended sentence in 2016 for threatening to commit murder, and a separate child endangerment case.

Tyne ordered Rodriguez held without the right to bail for up to 120 days.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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