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Fitchburg Man Allegedly Had Cocaine in Car

November 16, 2017 GMT

LOWELL -- A 25-year-old Fitchburg man is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of over a decade in prison after a traffic stop on Interstate 495 in Chelmsford led police to nearly a half kilogram of cocaine in a vehicle, according to a police report.

Christopher Merced, of 33 Huron St., Fitchburg, was pulled over by state Trooper Michael Traister on Oct. 18, after Traister saw Merced driving in the highway’s left lane for over a mile, drifting into other lanes, and tailgating another vehicle, according to a police report.

Merced appeared to be sweating profusely when Traister spoke to him, and gave two different answers when asked where he was heading, at first saying Fitchburg, but later saying Lawrence, according to a police report.

After speaking to Merced, Traister was walking back to his cruiser and saw Merced reach into the back seat of the vehicle he was driving, which prompted Traister to order Merced out of the vehicle so he could be pat frisked for weapons, according to a police report.

Traister found a metal baseball bat on the floor of the car, according to a police report.

Traister requested a canine unit to search the vehicle because of Merced’s inconsistent answers to questions, criminal history and nervousness aroused his suspicion, according to a police report.

A state police canine indicated on the area of the driver’s door, and a trooper soon found 490 grams of a substance believed to be heroin in a compartment in the driver’s side door, according to a police report.

Merced was already facing charges of distribution of a Class B substance and conspiracy to violate drugs laws in Leominster District Court, as a result of an August arrest on Iliad Street in Leominster, according to a previously published report.

Leominster police said at the time that a tip called in to the Leominster Police Drug Unit led investigators to Iliad Street, where Merced and two other people were arrested after being found with a small amount of cocaine.

Merced, who is being prosecuted by Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office, is due back in Lowell District Court on Dec. 6 for a probable-cause hearing.

If convicted of trafficking over 200 grams of heroin, Merced would face a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison.