SHELBURNE, Mass. (WPRI) ─ When Massachusetts State Police troopers searched a vehicle during a traffic stop last week and discovered a cereal box, they didn’t find a prize inside when they opened it.
Instead, they found thousands of bags of heroin, according to police.
Police said one of the troopers initially pulled the car over after noticing its auxiliary lights were improperly illuminated and it had an illegible, handwritten temporary license plate.
When the trooper asked the driver for his license and registration, he handed over an expired Vermont license, and when he was questioned about the makeshift plate, he could only offer unrelated documents.
The driver, identified by police as 31-year-old Justin Butchino, insisted his vehicle was properly registered.
When the trooper went to verify whether the vehicle was registered, police said he discovered Butchino’s license was also suspended.
But it wasn’t until the trooper began placing Butchino under arrest that he noticed a bundle of heroin in his pants pocket.
At that point, the trooper asked Butchino’s passenger, identified by police as 36-year-old Justin Gilliam, to get out of the car. While searching Gilliam, police said the trooper discovered he had a bag of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine in his pocket.
Gilliam was then placed under arrest, police said, and a second trooper arrived to help detain both suspects and search the vehicle.
During the search, police said the troopers found the cereal box, which contained 3,100 bags of heroin and one bag of cocaine.
The troopers also found a used syringe, a box cutter, a purse containing two bundles of heroin, a small white bag that contained what appeared to be fentanyl and a glass pipe, according to police.
Both men are facing a series of drug charges, including possession, trafficking and conspiracy. Butchino is also charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and misuse of auxiliary lights.