Theft Suspect May Have Swallowed Heroin
Theft suspect took baggie of heroin into mouth while he was being searched by police. He is charged with tampering with evidence and drug possession.
A South Bethlehem man apparently swallowed the contents of a small baggie of heroin as city police searched him on Ontario Street Tuesday night, according to court papers.
Whatever it was that he may have swallowed, Carlos Lopez-Rodriguez was well enough Thursday to be arraigned on drug and theft charges in front of District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez. He was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $30,000 bail.
It all began with a call to police that a cellular telephone had been stolen from a woman who lives at 621 Broadway.
The victim told police that a man she knew as Carlos Rodriguez showed up her house early Tuesday evening and asked for a glass of water. When she returned with the water, Rodriguez had disappeared, along with her cell phone, according to court records.
A friend of the victim told police that, within the hour, Rodriguez tried to sell him a phone that matched the description of the phone that had been stolen, an arrest warrant says.
According to the affidavit:
- Bethlehem police spotted Lopez-Rodriguez on the 500 block of Ontario Street at about 10:30. An officer approached and asked if he had stolen a cell phone and Lopez-Rodriguez denied it, then voluntarily emptied his pockets.
- What he took out included a syringe and a metal spoon with gray residue. Police then immediately arrested Lopez-Rodriguez for possession of drug paraphernalia.
- As a police search continued, Lopez-Rodriguez held on to a “suspicious item” in his left hand. When one of the officers tried to take it, he tightened his grip.
- Ultimately, police found that it was three small yellow bags containing an off-white powder that appeared to be heroin. Each bag had red lettering on it that said: “good work.”
- As the police search of Lopez-Rodriguez continued, with his drug items sitting on the porch, the suspect bent over and picked up one of the small yellow bags with his mouth.
- Lopez-Rodriguez refused to open his mouth or spit out the bag. Police called for an ambulance. Before the ambulance arrived, Lopez-Rodriguez relented and spit out the bag, which was “soaking wet,” and was empty. “It is unknown if the powder was ingested.”
- The substances in the baggies did test positive for opium, the root ingredient of heroin.
Lopez-Rodriguez, 38, of 715 Broadway, was charged with theft, tampering with evidence, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.