Cambridge, Massachusetts police arrested Ricky White of Dorchester for dealing cocaine in Central Square last week. According to reports, just after midnight a Cambridge Police Sergeant was on patrol when he noticed White behind the wheel of his idling car. White, who was on his cell phone drove around the block, parked and entered a local housing project. White returned to his car and was followed by the officer. The officer then reported that White failed to use a turn signal and a stop was effectuated. Upon contacting the defendant the officer smelled marijuana and saw a bag of marijuana inside a larger bag in plain view in the car. A search of White and the car followed. Seized in the course of the investigation were Suboxone pills, Vicodin pills, five bags of cocaine totaling twenty five grams, over two thousand dollars cash and some marijuana. White his being charged with trafficking cocaine over fourteen grams, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute a Class B substance and more. The case is now pending in the Cambridge District Court however once an indictment issues the case will be prosecuted in the Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn.
The defense of this case will center on the legality of the officer’s stop of the vehicle, search of its contents and White and the subsequent seizure of the drugs. Defense attorneys will file a motion to suppress. It will be up to a judge to determine whether or not the officer had probable cause to stop the car and conduct the following search. The credibility of the officer becomes critical at this point. Here is what I see as potential flaws in the prosecution of this case. Obviously the officer had his suspicions of White. He saw him on his cell phone with his car idling. White then drove around and went into the projects for a short visit. To the officer this was suspicious activity. So what did he do? He followed White and looked for him to “slip up”. He then claims that White failed to use a turn signal so he stopped him. Is this true? I mean after all according to the officer White properly operated his car prior to entering the projects without incident. Why then suddenly abandon such caution after supposedly making a drug deal? Then, after the stop the officer detects the smell of marijuana. Come on now. The bag was sealed and inside another bag. White was not charged with operating under the influence of marijuana nor did the officer say that he smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. A good idea in this case for the motion to suppress might be to place the bag of marijuana near the judge at the same distance as it was from the officer when he stopped White. Then see if the judge smells the marijuana during the hearing. I doubt he or she will.
Stephen Neyman has successfully defended Drug Crimes in Massachusetts and throughout the country for over twenty years. Call our office now if you have been charged with a Criminal Offense. We can be reached twenty four hours per day, seven days per week at 617-263-6800 or you can contact us online.