This Boston criminal lawyer has been around long enough to recognize what may be the tip of an upcoming criminal justice iceberg.
Late last week, three Everett residents were brought in and arraigned on various possession charges. They stand charged with Massachusetts gun and drug charges. Included in the listing of the firearms is allegedly a gun that had been stolen from the Chelsea District Court evidence locker two years ago, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office.
The arrests took place after the execution of a search warrant at the home shared by Jeffrey Sanon, 30; Liban Ali, 21; and Malensky Oscar, 21, (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”). According to documents, law enforcement was not even looking for the drugs and guns. They were actually on the trail of a laptop that had been taken from a Winchester business. Law enforcement indicates that an anti-theft tracking device installed on the computer indicated it was currently located in the home.
The weapons found during the search included several high-capacity guns (including the .40-caliber Glock pistol stolen from the court) as well as a shotgun, high capacity magazines, and other ammunition. The evidence of drug crimes seized included more than 36 grams of cocaine and packaging materials according to the District Attorney’s office. The gun from the evidence locker was one of three stolen from Chelsea in 2011. According to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office, a Charlestown resident was arrested in April for possessing one of them.
The Defendants stand charged with three counts of possession of a high capacity firearm, three counts of possession of a high capacity magazine, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, trafficking in cocaine over 36 grams, conspiracy to violate the drug law, and receiving stolen property, according to prosecutors.
“The firepower and drugs that were discovered at that home created a potentially lethal combination and a real danger to nearby residents,” Ryan said in a statement. “I applaud the teamwork and joint efforts of the Winchester and Everett police departments, whose search for a stolen computer led to an unanticipated and significant seizure of weapons that now no longer pose a threat to the community.”
The Defendants’ next day in court will be on June 5th. While it is apparently currently scheduled for a pretrial hearing, it is more likely that the case will not stay in district court, but be indicted and moved up to Massachusetts superior court.
Attorney Sam’s Take On The Seizure Of Evidence
Clearly, the Commonwealth’s interest in the Defendants did not begin with the execution of the search warrant.
In order to get a search warrant, law enforcement must make a showing to a clerk magistrate or a judge that there is enough probable cause to issue the warrant. This takes place after a criminal investigation of sorts.
In this case, law enforcement is said to have been simply looking for the laptop computer. The probable cause burden for that would certainly be satisfied by the signal the laptop was allegedly sending as described above.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer should have questions regarding the application for and language within the search warrant. The procedure followed by police investigators should also be reviewed. For example, did the search which resulted in the seizure of the contraband exceed what was allowed by the warrant?
You will notice that no charges have been brought by the Commonwealth for the theft of the stolen gun. This is because there is no evidence, so it would seem, that the Defendants are the folks who actually stole the laptop. However, they may well be facing charges for possession of stolen property.
In the beginning of today’s blog, I mentioned that I expected this to be merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This is because not only do we know everything about the investigation leading up to this seizure, we do not know anything about another facet of this story which I would hope the Commonwealth is investigating. Namely, how did the the .40-caliber Glock pistol get stolen from the court?
In a time when we have chemists and seasoned police officers accused, if not actually prosecuted, for the mishandling and theft of evidence, one would hope that this is of interest to prosecutors.
If not, it should be of interest to counsel for the Defendants.
That is, if they are experienced enough to realize its import.
Announcement Regarding Upcoming Changes To This Blog: The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog is going through some changes. One such change is that it will be posted only twice a week for now. In most cases, the two postings will be on Mondays and Thursdays. Please stay tuned.
For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/05/12/everett-residents-arraigned-drug-and-gun-charges-including-gun-stolen-from-chelsea-district-court-evidence-locker/MVNMNG5VcAtJBXBEEI300I/story.html