Arrests Made During Investigations Concerning Juvenile Alcohol And Drug Traffic North And South Of Boston

Friday night was a big night for Massachusetts law enforcement in the prosecution of juvenile alcohol parties and narcotics investigations.

In Danvers, An investigator’s patience paid off as he sat back and watched an alleged drug deal, stopping the car afterwards. He found a wide variety of drugs in the car, police said yesterday.

Danvers Police Lt. Carole Germano said Detective Robert Sullivan was staking out a Newbury Street business at 10:15 p.m. Friday. “He had set up surveillance in the Motel 6 parking lot and he observed a hand-to-hand (pass) and subsequently stopped the vehicle and seized the drugs and currency,” she said.

The stash allegedly found included cocaine, heroin, Vicodin and other prescription drugs inside the car, as well as an undisclosed amount of money.

Darren L., 40, and Twyla H., 27, (hereinafter, “Defendants 1”), both of Lynn, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate a drug law, drug violation near a school or park, possession of Class A drugs to distribute, possession of Class B drugs to distribute and three counts of possession of Class C drugs to distribute.

The stop of the car was also occasioned by the driver’s alleged failure to stop at a stop sign, winning her an additional criminal charge.

Meanwhile, in Plainville, Massachusetts, thirteen youths, all under 21 years old, (hereinafter, “Defendants 2”) were having their weekend ruined. They were arrested at a party with underaged drinking Friday night, police said.

Police said they had received information about the site where the party took place and checked it out several times before the arrests. Around 10:30 p.m., police finally raided the party and arrested eight males and five females.

“It was a planned, well-orchestrated effort by Plainville police and neighboring communities,” Police Chief Edward Merrick said in a statement.

Several cases of beer, hard liquor, and marijuana were removed from the scene, according to police. All the teens were released on bail to their parents and will be arraigned on November 10.

Last month, a 17-year-old Plainville teenager was found dead in a swampy area near the abandoned Norfolk airport after leaving an underaged drinking party.

Samuel’s take:

While we have voted in a bill to ease the laws on the possession of marihuana, do not be deceived. As demonstrated both on Friday’s daily blog and above, the Commonwealth has not suddenly lost its interest in prosecuting the illegal possession and consumption of certain substances.

Certain points in these two cases may not be completely obvious. First of all, the fact that the officers observed what is generally known as an “observation sale” is not the only reason the Commonwealth will prosecute Defendants 1 the possession with intent to distribute, which also allows them to include the School Zone charge. Factors for such a charge usually include the amount of the drugs, how the drugs are packaged, possession of a certain amount of money or other items found which can be used in the drug trade, such as a scale, glassine envelopes, etc.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute can carry a mandatory minimum sentence; the School Zone count does carry a mandatory minimum sentence.

Donning your “Criminal Lawyer Hat”, you may believe that the reason for the stop sign charge was to justify the stop of the car. Maybe. However, the fact that the detective witnessed what they say was a sale had already given him probable cause to investigate.

So, other than the fact that these two cases involve contraband, what do they have in common and what do they have to do with you?

They illustrate the same point; a point often heard echoing constantly in this daily criminal law blog.

Both cases involved an ongoing investigation which had already started prior to this past Friday night. Friday night’s arrests were only the culmination of these investigations. It would certainly seem that, as the resulting arrests were being planned, the defendants-to-be were oblivious to the investigation. Or, if they were not completely unaware, they did not seem to have taken precautions and continued on their ongoing activities which would win them the Commonwealth Bracelets of Shame.

And so, we are left with the same old lesson. Investigations may be going on without your realizing it. Perhaps you are an innocent guy who just loves to “hang out” with his lady-love, who has a part time job dispensing narcotic drugs…and you are concerned that criminal prosecution could be in her future. Perhaps you are sitting in the car, just keeping her warm, going out for a drive and, suddenly, after she does a little hand-to-hand, there is an onslaught of police officers. Knowing that, although perhaps not involved in the drug distribution, you could be in the line of prosecutorial fire, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to contact an experienced defense attorney to know your rights and find out just how at risk you really are?

The situations in which a person’s actions can be interpreted as criminal behavior are endless, even aside from the, I’m sure, unlikely possibility that you are actually knowingly breaking the law. We have scratched the surface of some of them in this daily blog and will continue to do so. However, they are too numerous to completely list.

The best free advice I can give you is to be careful and, if you suspect you may have aroused suspicious attention, contact someone who can help you. A defense attorney who knows how to work his professional paranoia to your benefit and protection. Share your fears with someone like me and we will share our criminal justice paranoia with you.

It’s an old cliché, but has truth – just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you!

Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, P.C. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a defense attorney in Boston over 18 years. He frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network

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