BELMONT — A Brooklyn, New York woman who says she just moved to Claremont three weeks ago is being held on $20,000 cash bail after police found 15.9 grams of heroin in packages in a car in which she was a passenger.
Heather Cleveland, 26, whose address is listed as Brooklyn but is now of East Street in Claremont, is charged with one count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of falsifying evidence for allegedly trying to hide the heroin after being stopped by police.
After finding probable cause for Cleveland's arrest, Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division told Cleveland her alleged activities "severely endangers our community" and "puts us all at risk."
Cleveland wept openly as Carroll set bail at $20,000 cash-only — $10,000 more than the Belmont prosecutor asked for and 100 times the $200 cash requested by her public defender. He also ordered a hearing for the source of funds should she come up with the money.
According to affidavits obtained from court, police were investigating reported drug activity on Main Street Wednesday night and saw a car idling in front of 125 Main Street at 10:49 p.m. without its lights on. Police saw a female (later identified as Cleveland) leave the building and get into the passenger side of car.
Police said the car headed down Main Street but the female driver only had running lights turned on and officers stopped the driver for the traffic violation.
While Officer Joel Pickowicz went to the passenger side window and spoke to the driver, Officer Ryan Nolan stood near the rear of the car on the driver's side. Nolan said he had a clear view of the inside of the car and noticed a young child sitting on the rear passenger seat.
When Pickowicz went back to his cruiser to check the driver's information, Nolan said he saw Cleveland verify that Pickowicz was back in his cruiser and make a "furtive movement" toward the back seat of the car and remove a white pill bottle with a dark label from under a jacket. He said she "discretely" put the bottle in the center console.
Nolan told both women to get out the car and separated them. He first asked the driver and owner of the car about the pill bottle and she allegedly told him she didn't know anything about it. She told Nolan that she was under the impression that Cleveland had gone into the Main Street apartment house to buy a cell phone. She gave Nolan written consent to search her car.
During Nolan's search he allegedly found a white pill bottle with a child-proof cap and dark writing that was a drug-store brand of 100-count tension-headache pain relievers.
When he opened the bottle he found 53 paper packets or bindles with blue lettering that read "Fever". The contents later tested positive for heroin. The bottle also contained rice — a commonly used moisture absorbent.
Police also said the bottle was initially under a jacket within "arm's reach" of Cleveland's 2-year-old son, triggering the charge of endangering the child's welfare.
At press time Cleveland remains in the Belknap County Jail. Should she post bail, Carroll ordered her to live with her brother in Claremont and sign a waiver of extradition.