An Uber driver is charged with selling heroin to undercover state troopers out of his car, prosecutors said Thursday.
Ariel Pimental, 26, of Lawrence was arraigned Wednesday in South Boston Municipal Court on charges of distribution of a Class A substance and trafficking in heroin, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a joint statement.
A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and the lawyer who represented him Wednesday had no comment. Pimental was ordered held on $60,000 cash bail.
Prosecutors said investigators began monitoring him after receiving a tip over the summer that an Uber driver, later identified as Pimental, was selling heroin in the Boston area, the statement said.
Troopers later made six undercover purchases from Pimental through the fall after contacting him by phone, though not through the Uber app, according to authorities.
“On Nov. 14, following those sales, a Suffolk Superior Court judge approved search warrants for Pimental’s residence and the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe with livery plates in which Pimental had allegedly conducted the transactions,” the release said. “At about 2:00 that afternoon, State Police stopped the Tahoe on Congress Street. They placed him under arrest for the earlier sales, searched the vehicle, and recovered three bags of heroin totaling approximately 22 grams.”
Investigators later searched Pimental’s home and seized an additional 26 grams of heroin, as well as about $4,000 in cash, officials said. He’s expected to face more charges in Essex County at a later date.
In a statement, Uber spokeswoman Susan Hendrick said the company has a “zero tolerance policy for the use of drugs and alcohol.”
“The driver’s access to the app has been removed,” said Hendrick in the statement.