A Niagara Falls man who was pulled over by an Erie County Sheriff's deputy Sunday morning for traffic violations on the I-190 on Grand Island was arrested on felony and misdemeanor drug charges after he allegedly vomited "multiple bags of heroin" in the back of the deputy's patrol vehicle, Sheriff's officials said.
Michael J. Paonessa, 28, was pulled over about 1:15 a.m. for unspecified vehicle and traffic law violations. Sheriff's officials said he could not produce a driver's license but gave a name and date of birth, but the deputy discovered that the name he gave was fake. The deputy also learned that Paonessa's driver's license was revoked due to a drunken driving conviction.
The deputy arrested Paonessa on misdemeanor counts of aggravated unlicensed operation and criminal impersonation, in addition to traffic violations. The deputy put him in the back of his patrol vehicle, where Paonessa vomited. "Within the vomit, there were multiple bags of heroin," sheriff's officials said in a statement released Monday.
Paonessa was then charged with additional counts of concealing physical evidence, a felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
He was being held in the Erie County Holding Center pending arraignment in Grand Island Town Court.