Carlos J. Lanns, a 24-year-old New Jersey gentleman (and hereinafter, the “Defendant”), flew to Boston Monday…and into the arms of the law. He now stands charged with a number of Massachusetts drug crimes.
According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant arrived at Logan International Airport with 2.17 kilograms of cocaine, wrapped in plastic, in his shoes. Law enforcement values the drugs at an estimated street value of more than $200,000.
Prosecutors allege that the cocaine was hidden inside four pairs of shoes in his checked luggage. State Police arrested the Defendant shortly after he got off JetBlue Flight 862 from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Apparently, they had been alerted by US Customs and Border Protection.
While, the method used to find the drugs was not revealed “so as not to compromise ongoing interdiction efforts,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said, drug-sniffing dogs have been used in the past to check luggage from certain international flights.
At his arraignment, the Defendant is said to have seemed confused as his interpreter explained the proceedings to him. At his East Boston bail hearing, bail was set at $300,000 cash, although the Defendant had no prior record. The Commonwealth also requested that he be made to surrender his passport should bail be made as he allegedly has ties to the Dominican Republic.
It was so ordered.
The Defendant has pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking in more than 200 grams of a Class B substance. He faces a possible 15-year mandatory minimum state prison sentence if convicted…
Attorney Sam’s Take On State And Federal Drug Trafficking
“Ok, Sam, what do you mean by ‘so far’?”
Well, it would appear that any criminal investigation, or investigations, into the Defendant and his activities has just begun.
“How many investigations could there be?”
Quite a few, actually. Right now, this is a single state criminal prosecution. However, I can tell you as a long-time Boston Criminal Lawyer, not to mention a former prosecutor, the assumption is that the Defendant is but a “mule”. In other words, he is someone involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy who merely brings the goods from place to place. Such folk are usually considered “small fish” in the narcotics trade pool.
When such individuals are grabbed, they become the stuff that other, higher level, investigations are made of. Such investigations are often joint state-federal enterprises. Further, ICE, the good folks concerned with immigration, often become involved as well.
Pressure the incarcerated mule and try to squeeze out information. Make a deal of some sort. After all, law enforcement in both systems are more interested in the bigger fish in the pool.
“How do we know that they will not simply be satisfied with prosecuting the Defendant?”
They will be, if they cannot get anything else (which is doubtful). Note that the Defendant is not simply being prosecuted for the possession of the drugs. Nor simply the possession with intent to sell. He is charged with actual trafficking.
And that is how this case has begun. In district court. Most likely, the Defendant will soon be heading to superior court because he will be indicted.
“Don’t they need to have seen a sale in order to prosecute the Defendant with trafficking?”
No, not necessarily. We do not know what else the government knows about the Defendant’s past, including if he has been tied to any earlier drug sales. However, other indicia can lead to a trafficking charge. In this case, one of the strongest of such indicia is the amount of drugs he was bringing in.
We also do not know when federal investigators learned that he was in possession of the cocaine. Was it in customs at Logan? Was it somewhere else? Were they watching the Defendant even before the flight?
Such subjects will become important…particularly when motions to suppress the evidence are filed by the defense. Such a motion could potentially end this prosecution way before there is any talk of trial.
Assuming, of course, knowledgeable and experienced defense counsel.
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/09/man-arrested-logan-airport-with-two-kilos-cocaine-hidden-shoes-state-police-say/qcZavByW9mpsnS8NqzFnIJ/index.html?p1=News_links