standing Westerly Police Department Cruiser

WESTERLY — A judge has ordered a local man held without bond after the police said he was found in possession of 32 small bags of crack cocaine while riding as a passenger in an unregistered car stopped on White Rock Road.

Westerly police on Thursday charged 38-year-old Jason Hedges, of 60 School St., Apt. 1, with one count of possession of a narcotic substance with the intent to deliver. Hedges, who has a lengthy criminal history that includes sexual assault and previous drug sale convictions, was arraigned Friday in Fourth Division District before he was remanded into state custody. He remains at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

The case has been referred to a Rhode Island grand jury for review, state judicial records show.

Westerly police said Hedges was arrested following a Thursday evening traffic stop along White Rock Road. The car was pulled over for driving without proper registration, Police Chief Shawn Lacey said, and when officers approached the car, Hedges began to act extremely nervous and kept reaching inside his the waistline of his pants.

After several unsuccessful requests to have him stop, Lacey said officers called for a police K-9 to conduct a search. The K-9 unit hit on the passenger side of the car and officers asked him to get out.

A search revealed two large bags in the waist between his pants and boxers, the police said. Inside the bags, Lacey said the officers discovered 32 individually knotted bags containing a rock-like substance. The drugs were seized and taken back to the Westerly Police Department where they tested positive as crack cocaine.

In all, Lacey said police seized a total of 13.3 grams. Hedges was taken into custody without further incident.

The driver, a 30-year-old Providence woman, was also charged with driving when registration is suspended or denied, as well as being cited with having a windshield tint that exceeded state limits, the police said.

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