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) 492 3000.

North Of Boston Does Its Best To Catch Up To Boston Proper’s Busy Drug Trade

Taghi T., 28, of Boston, (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”) was awaiting his mail on Wednesday. He did not realize that a criminal defense attorney would need to be involved.

Apparently, he should have.

Law Enforcement had intercepted the parcel and when Defendant 1 went to UPS in downtown Boston to claim it, he received the Commonwealth Bracelets of Shame instead. You see, the postal workers were really police officers. The package had a bit of marihuana in it…a “bit” being defined here as 10 pounds worth. And you know how the police are…always suspicious. For some reason they suspected there might be more goodies to be found, so they decided to search his Boston home.

They turned out to be right. They found a large amount of materials typically found in any healthy drug operation, according to Suffolk County prosecutors. Well, that is, if you consider 800 grams of cocaine, another 15 pounds of marijuana, more than 200 prescription pills, $25,235 in cash and various drug paraphernalia such as scales, cutting agents, and bags a “large amount”.

The Commonwealth does, incidently.

And so it was that Defendant 1 found himself before a Boston court facing various drug charges such as cocaine trafficking and drug possession.

But, hey, that’s the “big city”, right? If you are talking about Massachusetts, Beantown is the “big leagues”! The urban Mecca! What do you expect?

Well, points north of Boston are apparently trying to catch up to Boston’s sense of narcotics-related excitement. And some of the participants may not be what you would expect.

Take John O., 50, a Pentucket Regional High School science teacher (hereinafter, “Prof. Defendant”), for example. He had an unscheduled field trip to the Salem District Court, without his class, on Tuesday to face charges of drug possession, driving with a suspended license, negligent driving and a marked lanes violation. Released on $200 bail, he was more or less free for the day, since he is also now on administrative leave without pay because of the charges.

Prof. Defendant was arrested after being involved in a head-on collision in Beverly. Police say he was carrying a small, plastic bag containing what they believe to be crystal methamphetamine in his pocket.

No, there has been no claim that he was simply carrying it to the school for a science experiment. In fact, his defense lawyer said that despite any personal problems his client may have faced in the past, he remains dedicated to his profession.

“At no time in his decades of being a school teacher has he ever compromised his dedication to the students or compromised in any way his work ethic,” said the lawyer, adding “Our goal is to not resolve this too far down the road. An early resolution, that’s what he’s hopeful for. He’s trying to address any and all issues in regard to his tenure as a teacher and the criminal matter before him in an expeditious, efficient and proper way.”

Prof. Defendant might want to consider teaching a class on the science of bad luck. His accident occurred when he allegedly crossed the center line on Brimbal Avenue and had a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by a reserve police officer in Beverly. The accident lead to a search of his car and law enforcement allegedly found two glass pipes, one in the back seat and the other in the trunk. Prof. Defendant also had an electronic scale on the floor on the passenger side, according to the police report.

Deciding not to exercise his right to silence, Prof. Defendant told the police he did not know why he had crossed the double yellow line. Speaking of making matters just little worse, he reportedly had two prior convictions for driving under the influence more than a decade ago, one in Beverly in 1985 and another in Newbury in 1993.

Still, I would think that the North Shore is going to have to try a bit harder than that to compare with the drug activity in Boston. Perhaps get a bit more sordid in the attempt.

Message received. Let’s turn to another, more grisly, recent northern drug case.

Mally C.R. of Puerto Rico, 25, (hereinafter, the “Deceased”) was found dead at a local motel on November 26th. Upon investigation, law enforcement determined that she was an alleged “drug mule” who had been smuggling $100,000 worth of cocaine from the Dominican Republic. Apparently the venture had cost her her life.

Nine days later, authorities had grabbed Angel B.G., 48, of Lawrence, (hereinafter, “Defendant Angel”), in connection with the alleged drug trafficking operation that police say also included the Deceased and Deceased’s twin sister, (hereinafter, “Defendant Sister”) as well as a second man, Escolastico S., 45, also of Lawrence, (hereinafter “Defendant Unrelated”).

Police took custody of Defendant Angel at the Lawrence District Court after he waived extradition to Salem, where he faces a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. A warrant also outstanding in Wisconsin as well, he is being held without bail. Apprehended two days earlier, Defendant Unrelated was also charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. He is being held in the Rockingham County jail on a $100,000 cash bail.

The arrests came after the Deceased’s death triggered a joint investigation between Salem and Lawrence, Massachusetts authorities, the Massachusetts State Police Fugitive/Auto Theft Task Force, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

According to Salem police Capt. Shawn Patten, the Deceased and Defendant Sister landed at Logan International Airport in Boston on November 25th, after ingesting about $100,000 in prepackaged cocaine each. Though still awaiting the official results of the Deceased’s autopsy, police believe she died the next morning as a direct result of the drugs in her system.

Police said Defendant Sister, then convulsing, was rushed to Parkland Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery after authorities determined that she had also ingested a large amount of cocaine.

Arraigned at her hospital bed, Defendant Sister was, and is being, held on a $100,000 cash bail. Police have charged her with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

While Patten said the extent of the drug smuggling operation is not yet known, police have identified more suspects in the trafficking ring who may have been able to get the drugs out of their system and have obtained arrest warrants for several of them.
The cocaine may have been intended for distribution in southern New Hampshire or across the border in Lawrence, according to police.

Three Lawrence men arrested following a drug sting at a local hotel at about 5 p.m. on December. 4, are not connected to the cocaine trafficking operation, Patten said. These men, however, were charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled drug, sale of a controlled drug and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, respectively, after detectives investigated reports of drug sales in the area. All three men were held on $25,000 cash bail pending their arraignment.

Police seized six grams of crack cocaine, $1,800 in cash and a vehicle during the sting operation.

Hey, Points North, you may be getting there..!

Samuel’s take:

Major American cities, of which I would like to consider Boston one, tend to have a larger share of the ongoing drug trade…as they do with most crimes. However, this does not mean that it is not a part of life in the smaller cities and towns, as today’s daily blog demonstrates.

Most people have known for a long time that you can find drugs virtually anywhere. While perhaps not readily discussed, police attention and investigation have spread out to the suburbs accordingly…if not as often as in more urban areas.

However, this is not a daily narcotic blog…it is a daily criminal law blog. So, what are the points I want to leave you with this rainy Friday morning?

One observation has to do with Prof. Defendant’s history. You may be wondering, if he has two prior operating under the influence cases, why the criminal justice system seems to be handling him so gingerly. The fact that his prior convictions are over a decade old is the major reason. For example, in terms of prosecuting levels of offenses in terms of the OUI, the fact that the earlier convictions are so old means that they “do not count” toward these level changes. The result is that he will probably walk away with what otherwise would be a “1st offense” level conviction instead of the “3rd offense” he would otherwise receive which would likely mean jail time.

The Deceased’s death provides an interesting cap to our “discussions” this week about when one might be charged with unintended deaths connected to criminal activity. Who, if anyone, could be found responsible for her death? Actually, although there are varying degrees of legal issues involved, everyone involved in the conspiracy to distribute the drugs could be charged with the death
As you know, if you have followed this daily blog, everyone involved in a conspiracy can be charged with everything everyone else in the conspiracy does to further that conspiracy. In this case, getting the Deceased to carry the drugs as she did probably led to her death. That can be charged as a homicide, depending on how the evidence comes in.

These cases also illustrate that investigations abound which may include you about which you may not be aware. For example, it is unlikely that Defendant 1 suspected that he was actually asking police investigators for his package of marihuana. Of course, given the scale (no pun intended) of his operation, one might wonder why he did not fear such an investigation.

The most important issue for you about investigations is that they can be going on without your knowledge. There are still very intelligent people who believe that law enforcement has some duty to let you know that they are investigating you.

They don’t.

If you think about it, that makes a certain amount of sense. If they tell you, you might actually stop doing what they hope to catch you doing.

So, the advice is the same as always. If you have any reason to suspect you are being investigated in connection with anything potentially criminal, you want to consult an experienced defense attorney to advise and protect you as best as possible.

…Or you can simply ignore it and look forward to those little surprises Life is often full of, north, south, east or west of the city.

Have a good and law-abiding weekend!

Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. 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.

The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/12/boston_mans_pac.html, http://www.newburyportnews.com/punews/local_story_345233824.html and http://cs.newhampshire.com/blogs/salem_observer/archive/2008/12/10/Three-arrested-after-_1820_drug-mule_1920_-dies-in-Salem.aspx

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