This past weekend a thirty seven year old homeless Lawrence, Massachusetts man told police that he had been shot in the elbow. An investigation was quickly launched leading the police to an address on Broadway. Officers arrived, were permitted to enter the address and were presented with BB guns. They claim that at that time they were able to see drugs, heroin and marijuana in plain view on a table. The person present in the home was a woman (Torres) who quickly accused her husband, Tommy Galarza as the person to whom the drugs belonged. Torres and Galarza were both arrested and charged with various Massachusetts Drug Crimes. Officers then applied for and obtained a Search Warrant. During the execution of the Search Warrant the police located thirty five grams of cocaine, twenty five grams of heroin, oxycontin pills, assorted pills, cutting agents, a scale and cash. Both Torres and Galarza have been charged with Trafficking Cocaine and Trafficking Heroin as well as Possession of Class B With the Intent to Distribute. It is likely that a Conspiracy charge will be filed as well. Through these efforts Lawrence Police were also able to meet up with a man by the name of Brian Smith, a neighbor. Smith was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. These cases will likely be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem, Massachusetts.
The case against Galarza seems to be the strongest for the defense. The police went to the home. He was not there. They see drugs in plain view in a common area in the home. There is no admission or confession by Galarza. His wife’s statement cannot be used in court against Galarza and in my experience it is extremely for one spouse to testify against the other. In Massachusetts, when someone is present in a home where drugs are dealt the law makes clear that this presence, in and of itself, is insufficient to sustain a prosecution for drug dealing activities. There must be proof that the defendant had control, knowledge and power along with the ability and the intention to exercise dominion and control over the drugs. This is not present here. We have no idea when the drugs entered the home and whether or not Galarza was even present in the home when the drugs were present. His wife’s self-serving, legally inadmissible statements cannot be used by the district attorney in a prosecution against Galarza. Massachusetts law states that presence and awareness standing alone do not constitute evidence that will warrant a jury to infer the intention and ability to exercise and control over the drugs. That being the case no one can reasonably argue that the facts in this case are sufficient as to Galarza to permit this prosecution to stand.
Stephen Neyman is an Experienced Massachusetts Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer who has been successfully defending Drug Cases in Massachusetts for over twenty years. Your freedom means a lot to us. If you are in trouble or if you think you might be in trouble you need a lawyer. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or contact us online. Start defending your case right now.