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Texting While Driving Results In Arrest Of Drug Trafficker


In the early morning of May 1, 2024, Trooper Stelvio Neto, a recent graduate of the 89th Recruit Training Troop, was on patrol with his field training officer Trooper Quinn Indio. The two Troopers were conducting traffic enforcement in Fall River as part of the Dartmouth Barracks midnight shift. While observing traffic on Pleasant Street, Trooper Neto observed a Nissan SUV being driven by a man holding his phone in front of him illuminating his face in the darkness of the morning hours.

Trooper Neto conducted a traffic stop of the Nissan and approached the operator, MICHAEL COUTO, 55, of Fall River. It was immediately determined that COUTO’s license was suspended. COUTO was removed from the vehicle and placed into handcuffs. Trooper Neto escorted COUTO to his cruiser and conducted a search of his person. Couto was found to be in possession of a golf ball sized baggie of fentanyl, and a smaller baggie of crack cocaine. 

Once COUTO was secured in the rear of Trooper Neto’s cruiser, Trooper Neto and Trooper Indio conducted a search of the Nissan COUTO was driving. The search found, in a backpack in the interior, numerous individually bundled packages of fentanyl and a stun gun. COUTO does not possess a license to carry, as required by Massachusetts law to possess a stun gun.

COUTO was transported to the Dartmouth Barracks and booked, photographed, and fingerprinted. COUTO was determined to have roughly 79 grams of fentanyl and 8 grams of crack cocaine in his possession.

MICHAEL COUTO was arraigned in Fall River District Court on charges of:


  1. Trafficking in Fentanyl;

  2. Possession With Intent To Distribute Cocaine (Subsequent Offense);

  3. Possession Of Cocaine (Subsequent Offense);

  4. Possession Of Electric Stun Gun;

  5. Operation Of A Motor Vehicle With Suspended License; and

  6. Holding An Electronic Device While Driving.


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