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Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network.
To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 206-1942.

Posted On: February 12, 2013

CHELSEA MAN IS CHARGED WITH DRUG POSSESSION AND DRUG TRAFFICKING AFTER RECEIVING VALENTINE STUFFED WITH METHAMPHETAMINE

Valentine’s Day is coming later this week. What are you getting your sweetie? A card? Roses? How about a nice romantic teddy bear? They have all kinds of special and creative types now, you know.

You may not want to be too creative, though. You or your turtledove may end up like Lawrence Ligocki (hereinafter, the “Defendant”. His little gift has brought him all kinds of trouble.

You see, the Chelsea-based Defendant allegedly received a Valentine’s Day teddy bear through the mail. Law enforcement claims that the bear was stuffed with $10,000 worth of crystal methamphetamine. So they gave him another gift…criminal charges and the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame.

Prosecutors claim that on February 5th, postal inspectors alerted police about a suspicious package that was addressed to the Defendant. When a state police drug sniffing dog confirmed the presence of drugs inside the bear, the package was delivered to the Defendant by a postal inspector pretending to be a mail carrier.

When the Defendant signed for the package, he was presented with a search warrant for the home and the bear.

In execution of the warrant, authorities claim that they found 96 grams of crystal meth inside the teddy bear and more in the home.

The Defendant claims that he was not expecting the package and has pleaded “not guilty” to charges of drug possession and trafficking.

He was released on $150 bail.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Packages, Timing And Search Warrants


This could actually turn out to be an interesting case.

It seems to me that the authorities jumped the gun here a bit. They got lucky, though, which may have saved the prosecutorial day for them.

Maybe.

You see, there is no question that the Defendant possessed the package. After all, he took it into his custody when he signed for it and took it. However, to be guilty of drug possession, it has to be knowing possession. Would it not have been better for them to wait and give him time to open and remove the contents and not scream out in shock at the contents? This way, the Defendant can claim, as he did, that he was not expecting such a package and would never have accepted it if he had known what was in there.
After all, what was the rush? They already had their search warrant.

“What did you mean when you said the authorities got lucky?”

They claim that they found more of the drug in the Defendant’s home. That would tend to reflect he expected the shipment because he clearly had more. But, there are still a few hurdles for the prosecution to have to get over.

That is, if the Defendant’s lawyer is experienced in these types of cases.

This is not an unusual scenario. I have been involved with cases in which packages of drugs are delivered to someone. Sometimes, it turns out, it was arranged by a friend or relative and the named recipient does not even know what is going on.

These cases have many issues which a good defense attorney can work with. Particularly in this case when it seems like the Defendant did not have much, if any, of a criminal record. I assume that because of the low bail he was allowed to post. After all, the Defendant is looking at felony drug trafficking charges.

There is another issue here that is likely to be important to the defense. The search warrant.

In cases where there is a search warrant, a motion to suppress can be brought to challenge whether the search warrant should have been allowed as well as how it is written and how it is executed. In this case, there may well be a problem with the basis for the warrant. After all, I can send anything to anyone. You do not really know the recipient expected it until you see the reaction when the package is opened. In fact, we do not even know if the investigators knew how much was in the teddy bear.

I tend to doubt the police dog tapped his foot to indicate the weight of the drugs. The dog simply indicates the smell being present.

Of course, there may well be a whole backdrop in this case about which we are unaware. After all, if you were law enforcement, wouldn’t you be very interested in who sent the package and where they fit in on the alleged drug trafficking food chain? Interested enough to make a deal with this gentleman?

So…once again, you are left with the same message. When charged with a type of crime, you want to be represented by someone with experience and in whom you have trust.

Your very liberty may be at stake.

In fact, it usually is!

To read the original story upon this blog is based, please go http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/02/police_mass_man_gets_crystal_meth_in_teddy_bear