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I-91 traffic stop nets dozens of bags of heroin

GREENFIELD — Four people face heroin charges after allegedly trying to bring dozens of bags of the drug to New Hampshire along I-91.

Nicholas Santana, 23, with a last known address in Hartford, Conn., pleaded innocent to charges of distribution of heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws Wednesday in Greenfield District Court.

The driver of the car the four were in, Richard Cox, 25, of Claremont, N.H., pleaded innocent to charges of possession of heroin, being present where heroin is kept, conspiracy to violate drug laws, failure to drive in the right lane and a headlight violation. Their arraignments came nearly a week after their arrests, and their girlfriend and wife will be summoned to court later on related charges, according to police.

At about 3:25 p.m. May 22, trooper Michael O’Brien was patrolling Interstate 91 northbound in Greenfield, when he saw a tan Saturn with New Hampshire plates in the left lane without its headlights on, despite the rain, according to his police report.

He pulled the vehicle over and noticed that the driver, Cox, was sweating profusely and had severely constricted pupils, according to the report. Four other occupants, including a small child, were in the vehicle, he wrote.

Cox told the trooper that they were on their way home from visiting a friend in Hartford, but Santana said they had been visiting his family there, according to the report.

Cox’s wife, Cachina Cox, 24, also of Claremont, told the trooper that the four had gone to Hartford to pick up heroin, and that Santana gave her and her husband a small amount of the drug, which the two had already snorted, as payment for the ride, wrote O’Brien.

Santana’s girlfriend, Megan Vincent, offered up the drugs when O’Brien told her that he knew there was heroin in the vehicle, according to his report. Vincent reached into her sweatpants and pulled out a condom packed with 80 bags of heroin in bundles of 10, as well as three single packets, 24 used bags with traces of the drug, two syringes and a crack pipe, O’Brien wrote. The bags were branded “UConn,” “BLUU,” and “LeBron James,” while some were unbranded, wrote O’Brien.

Santana then admitted that the drugs were his, that he shoots about 30 bags per day and goes to Hartford for weekly pickups, and that he and his girlfriend had recently moved to injecting the drug, O’Brien wrote. Richard Cox then told police that he sniffs one or two bags of the drug “every other day,” and that he uses heroin with his wife, according to the report. Cox said he occasionally buys the drug from Santana, but had never given him a ride to pick up heroin before, wrote O’Brien. Santana and Richard Cox are set to return to court July 3 for pretrial conferences. Court dates for Cachina Cox and Vincent were not available.

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