Westerly man held on heroin charges

Westerly man held on heroin charges

The Westerly Sun


WAKEFIELD — A Westerly man who reportedly told police he has a “heroin problem” and that is why he is using and selling drugs, was held without bail after his appearance in Fourth Division District Court.

Jason M. Varas, 28, of 8 Miner St., and Adam N. Cheli, 26, appeared Thursday before Judge Madeline Quirk.

Cheli, who initially gave a California address to Westerly police, said he plans to stay permanently at a home on Old Hopkinton Road, in Westerly, where he is helping a family member who recently had surgery.

Neither man entered a plea to the felony charges.

Although warned by Quirk that he did not have to speak and should not incriminate himself, Cheli, who police said had a small amount of heroin, said he had signed up to enter a drug rehabilitation center on Monday.

“You don’t have to talk about that,” Quirk told him. Because he is not considered a flight risk, he was released on a promise to appear in court for a felony screening with the Attorney General’s office on March 25.

Meanwhile, Varas, according to a police narrative on the arrest, acknowledged he has a heroin problem that has led him into “using and selling.” Varas’ court record indicates he has several previous drug convictions.

The two men are facing felony drug charges after members of the Westerly detective and patrol divisions entered Varas’ home on Tuesday with a search warrant following an investigation into narcotics activity at that location.

In reading the police version of events leading up to the arrests, Westerly police Lt. Phil Williams said police entered an open door of the residence where they found Varas, Cheli and a woman who was not charged.

Police charged Varas with felony possession of 3.8 grams of heroin, with intent to deliver and cultivation of marijuana. Police seized 27.9 ounces of marijuana and 42 marijuana plants. Cheli was charged with felony possession of heroin.

Varas’ attorney, Chad Bank, sought bail for his client indicating the amount of heroin police found in the home, a little over 4 grams, was for personal use.

Varas was also cited as a violator on terms of his probation on previous drug convictions. In February 2012, Varas pleaded no contest to two counts of delivery and/or possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to six years at the Adult Correctional Institutions, one year to serve, five years suspended, with 100 hours of community service. In 2006, Varas pleaded no contest to a Westerly police charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree arson stemming from a July 2005 fire at a 4 Pearl St., house occupied by children and adults.

He received a 10-year suspended prison term and 10 years of probation on that charge.

Varas’ criminal background in Rhode Island goes back to 2005 when he was 20, and contains numerous drug convictions.


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