Sometimes, as most police agencies know, things are not simply what they appear to be.
Take the case of Louis Gersh (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) for example. The Defendant ran a second-hand store on Warren Street in Arlington. Little did he know, however, he had been under a Massachusetts criminal investigation for the past month. He found out last week when he was arrested for Massachusetts heroin-related crimes. Theft-related charges to follow.
It was a joint investigation between Arlington and Somerville police. It included use of an undercover officer to gather evidence as well as information gained in connection to another arrest, made weeks ago, on the Concord Turnpike. It culminated in a search warrant. According to Arlington Police Captain Richard Flynn, law enforcement seized a “large amount of heroin” after executing the search warrant on the business, called “On Line Sales”, owned by the Defendant.
However, this entrepreneurship=gone-wrong does not end there.
The Defendant also allegedly runs an online auction site that is headquartered at said business. The Commonwealth claims that this is actually a clearinghouse for stolen merchandise.
Law enforcement credits the neighborhood with suspicion about the Defendant’s businesses. Ryan explains that “The neighborhood in East Arlington on Warren Street has really been very concerned about the presence of his storefront,” Apparently, a “stream of seedy people” was seen coming and going from the storefront.
The Defendant, arrested Thursday night, now faces charges of a class A drug distribution, as well as separate charges for doing so within a designated school zone.
Flynn said police might file additional charges of receiving stolen property against the Defendant, based on the search at his business. He claims that, “We’ve taken so much stolen merchandise out of there, it’s unbelievable”.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Criminal Investigations And Unlikely Targets
To say that the Defendant needs an experienced criminal defense attorney is to suggest the obvious. And yet, it is likely that he had no idea that he would be in this predicament.
We have spent a great deal of time, in recent weeks, discussing the realities of the federal criminal justice system and its investigators. While not really on the same level, the Commonwealth has its own professional investigators and they do just that. They investigate.
Investigations, as I am sure you are aware, do not usually take place in plain sight. Like Grand Jury proceedings, they are done in secret…in the shadows. They can include undercover police officers, confidential informants and wire-taps to name just a few arrows in the Commonwealth’s quill.
I still run into people who ask me if the Commonwealth has some duty to warn someone that they are under investigation. The answer, as we have often discussed, is an emphatic “no”.
Generally, if one is contacted by investigators and alerted as to the existence of an investigation, it means that the investigation, for all practical purposes, is over. The only thing left to do is trick the suspect into making statements that will incriminate and/or lead to more charges. In trying to gain such statements, however, law enforcement is allowed to lie to the suspect. “We are just starting this investigation”, “We think it is a lot of nonsense…just tell us your view so we can close our books on this thing” and “Hey, tell us what we need to hear and you can go home, otherwise we have to arrest you” are among the favorites.
Keep in mind that those questioned by the police are often unaware of what other information the investigators have from, as in this case, other informants. Many people make deals with law enforcement to get themselves out of trouble. They could be pointing the finger at you and, often, the police believe them. When that happens, that becomes the truth for all intents and purposes. Therfore, if you are inconsistent with that truth…it is you who are considered the liar.
Do not get the idea that it is an equal playing field. You do not have to talk to the officers. But if you do elect to chat, you can not lie. That would be a Massachusetts felony.
The best, if not only, potential arrow in your quill? Get experienced defense counsel!
On the other hand, many choose to go it alone at first and try to out-smart the officers.
The jails are full of them.
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.wickedlocal.com/arlington/features/x1797067154/Arlington-store-owner-charged-with-heroin-distribution#axzz1SPiKrR7f