By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
A preliminary hearing will be held next week for a Conneaut man who reportedly tried to conceal a packet of heroin in his mouth during a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon.
Benjamin Mayberry, 32, 504 Beaver St., faces two felony charges — tampering with evidence and aggravated possession of drugs — from the incident, as well as misdemeanor charges, according to a Conneaut Municipal Court spokeswoman. Mayberry will be represented by a public defender at his Tuesday morning preliminary hearing, the spokeswoman said.
The incident began around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, when an officer on patrol noticed Mayberry behind the wheel of a vehicle at the intersection of 15th and Washington streets. The officer knew Mayberry had suspended driving privileges, according to a report. The vehicle was stopped and the officer began to interview Mayberry, whose speech seemed muffled, according to a report.
When asked what was in his mouth, Mayberry replied “I don’t know,” police said. Mayberry opened his mouth and the office noticed he was holding a paper-clad item against the roof of his mouth with his tongue. Told to remove the item, Mayberry tore some of the paper, tossed it on the patrol car and then tried to suck the rest of it back into his mouth.
The officer grabbed the item and held it until Mayberry complied with an order to spit it out, according to a report. Asked what was in the packet, Mayberry replied “heroin,” police said.
A search of the vehicle turned up syringes, pipes and other drug paraphernalia, police said.