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.

February ’09 Gets Early Recognition As “Weapons Gathering Month” By The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog

This February began as “Weapons Gathering Month” as far as local police are concerned. We return to two warnings often read in the daily Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog. Namely…(1) different law enforcements agencies communicate and (2) you do not get advance notice that an investigation is going on.

No, I am not referring to the cache of weapons in a Worcester home that were discovered when police and an ambulance were called due to a medical emergency this weekend. The month’s gun-toting atmosphere predated that.

A joint investigation by five area towns resulted in the arrest and arraignment in the beginning days of February of a Maynard man on charges of stealing and trying to sell firearms, including some assault rifles.

Lawrence W., 24, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arrested as a result of an ongoing investigation according to Marlborough Detective Lt. Robert Jusseaume, one of the investigators in the case. The investigation included police from Maynard, Marlborough, Hudson, Sudbury and Newton, he said.

“We were able to pool information and resources and we were able to, based on our investigation, establish probable cause that a cache of weapons was stored at house in Maynard,” Jusseaume said.

“It originated with a burglary in Newton over the summer,” Jusseaume said. “Numerous weapons, including assault rifles, were taken.”

“Based on the investigation, we found the suspect had the intention to sell the firearms,” Jusseaume said. “One individual weapon, one of the assault rifles, was tentatively to be sold for $1,500.”

So they set up an undercover buy for one of the assault rifles.

A confidential informant told the Defendant that he knew someone interested in purchasing a gun, according to Maynard Detective Paul Maria. The Defendant then made arrangements to sell a rifle for $1,500 to the undercover police officer.

Police obtained a search warrant and found five rifles in White’s 1995 Infiniti. The guns included an M-14 military assault rifle and another large capacity weapon.

In the home where the Defendant was staying with his mother, police found a loaded .357 magnum handgun. The Defendant initially denied having the loaded handgun. “He kept saying, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,”‘ Maria said. However, the Defendant eventually led Maria to the gun in the basement.

Police also found glass jars and equipment typically used in the hydroponic method of growing marijuana in the basement. A Hudson detective touched liquid in one of the jars and had to go to the hospital because of a burning feeling. “(the Defendant) stated he was attempting to grow magic mushrooms and marijuana in these jars,” Maria said.

The Defendant was charged with six counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and seven counts of possessing a firearm without a federal identity card. He was also charged with improperly storing a firearm, Class D drug manufacturing, two counts of possession of a high-capacity weapon and attempting to traffic firearms.

“All the other towns involved in the investigation were working together based on information they were gathering that the weapons could be in transit and kept in different locations,” Jusseaume said.

In court, the Commonwealth argued to have the Defendant held without bail.
The guns have an inherent dangerousness, argued Assistant District Attorney Kristen Michaud, seeking to have the Defendant held pursuant to a Dangerousness Hearing. She also argued that he should be held because of the seriousness of the offenses.

The Defendant’s attorney argued that the alleged offenses do not meet the necessary qualifications for a pretrial detention because they do not suggest the use, attempted use or threatened use of force against another person. “All the charges are (possession) offenses,” he argued. In other words, they were not violent crimes.

The court agreed with the defense and denied the Commonwealth’s motion.
Defendant 1 was ordered held on $500,000 bail on the gun possession, theft and trafficking charges.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

In case there be any doubt…Massachusetts gun possession, without a license, is a crime. Having several is more of a crime. Selling them is trafficking…a more serious crime.

More and more we see cases where police agencies from different towns, even different states, are able to communicate and participate in joint investigations. Of course, computers and the internet have made this very easy. Therefore, while it does sometimes still happen, the old adage of “one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing” is becoming more and more rare.

As we have covered many times in this daily blog, you do not get an engraved invitation to participate in your very own investigation. You usually find out as you are being awarded the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame.

As you are being fitted for said cuffs, I again remind you that fighting and trying to out-talk the officers is not a good idea. Better to comply quietly. Of course, perhaps taking the officers on a tour of other guns, marihuana and magic mushrooms is not such a great idea…unless you think that said magic will include the ability to turn back time so that you do not commit the crime in the first place.

By the way, while Massachusetts marihuana possession, up to a certain amount, is no longer treated as a crime…it does not help the situation.

If you believe yourself investigated for these crimes, or, perhaps, you have already been arrested, you want to have experienced counsel on your side so that you can best protect your rights and maybe even go home at the end of the day.

The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.wickedlocal.com/sudbury/news/police_and_fire/x408977613/Man-charged-with-stealing-selling-guns , http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1973191293/Assault-weapon-suspect-held-on-500K-bail and http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_02_08_Mass__police_find_cache_of_weapons__bomb_materials/srvc=home&position=recent

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