ESSEX — Police arrested a Gloucester man for alleged heroin possession after pulling over a car in which he was riding because it had a defective taillight.

Police said Keith A. O'Connor, 33, of 561 Essex Ave., Gloucester, was arraigned Thursday in Gloucester District Court on a charge of possession of a Class A substance (heroin). He was released on personal recognizance.

Patrolman Justin Zwicker pulled over a vehicle in which O'Connor was a passenger at 1:36 a.m. Thursday on Main Street near Woodman's after noticing that a taillight was out.

Zwicker detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, which contained three people. The vehicle is registered to O'Connor, police added.

Some of the heroin was in a plastic bag in plain view of the officer, police said. A second plastic bag of heroin was reportedly found inside the car's glove box, along with pills that police believed to be Klonopin, which is used to control epileptic seizures and for the treatment of panic disorder.

The driver, identified as Christina Lane, 27, of 6 Rose Lane, Gloucester, was charged with illegal possession of a Class E substance (prescription pills), because police believed the pills in the glove were hers. Lane was not arrested at the scene, but rather was summonsed to court to face the criminal complaint, Patrolman Rob Gilardi said Thursday.

The vehicle's third occupant was also arrested, Gilardi said.

Ashley M. Williamson, 20, of 4 Sylvan Court, Gloucester, was arrested on a warrant issued by Gloucester District Court last August for charges of larceny of over $250, larceny under $250, forgery, and four counts of uttering a false check.

Williamson and O'Connor were both held behind bars at the Manchester Police Station prior to their arraignments Thursday. Tally's towed the vehicle from the scene.

Patrolman Tom Shamshak aided Zwicker with the arrests, Gilardi said.

The incident is the latest in a series of heroin-related arrests, along with deaths and other overdoses, that have plagued Gloucester in recent months.

Heroin overdoses have claimed the lives of at least three people in Gloucester since mid-January and resulted in several arrests.

Jonathan L'Ecuyer can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451 or jlecuyer@gloucestertimes.com.

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