NEWBURYPORT – Given a choice Tuesday of either entering the Essex County drug diversion program or being held on cash bail, a Merrimac man who was arrested the night before decided to remain behind bars.

Jarred J. Cambra, 33, of 121 W. Main St. was arrested Monday about 9:30 following a traffic stop on Low Street. He was charged with possession of a Class A drug, possession of a Class E drugs (two counts), operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and failing to stop or yield.

Judge Peter Doyle set bail at $500 and ordered Cambra to return to court Sept. 23 for a pretrial hearing.

Cambra repeatedly shook his head when Essex County prosecutor Shailagh Kennedy told Doyle that her office was willing to enroll him in a six-month drug diversion program that would spare him from having drug offenses on his record upon completion. She also said he would need to complete a detox program.

Cambra talked over his options with his court-appointed attorney, Jack Humphries, before declining Kennedy’s offer.

Cambra was behind the wheel of a white pickup on Low Street with two passengers about 9:30 p.m. when his erratic driving caught the attention of Officer John Schmidt, according to a police report.

Schmidt watched as Cambra drove very slowly and then sped through a red light at the intersection of Low Street and Toppans Lane. The officer turned on his lights and pulled Cambra over about 300 yards from the intersection.

“The male operator began speaking to me and he was very lethargic,” Schmidt wrote in his report. “The male was moving very slowly to get me his license which he finally produced after reaching into his backpack behind the driver’s seat.”

A check of Cambra’s license showed that it had been suspended, prompting Schmidt to arrest him. The two passengers were cleared to leave. By this time, Officers Michael Wilichoski and Eric Marshall arrived to assist.

When the officers searched the truck, they found a small plastic bag containing heroin or fentanyl along with several loose pills scattered in the cabin, according to the report.

“Upon further check of the vehicle more white powdery substance was located in a small plastic cigarette wrapper in the backpack,” Schmidt wrote.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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