Articles Posted in Firearms

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Tyrell Berberena of Malden, Massachusetts has been arrested and charged with Possession of a High Capacity Firearm and Armed Assault With the Intent to Commit Murder following a daytime shooting in Malden yesterday. One witness to the event stated that he saw a group of three youths on Eastern Avenue near the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. The victim arrived on a bicycle. One of the members of the group, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt pulled out a gun and shot the victim. Four or five shots were fired in all. The shooter casually walked away from the scene. The others fled. The victim was taken to a local hospital. His condition has not yet been released. Berberena and the victim knew one another. No motive for the shooting has been disclosed yet. This case is pending in the Malden District Court but will be prosecuted in the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.

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Malden, Massachusetts Gun Possession Defense Law Firm

Massachusetts Armed Assault With Intent to Murder Defense Lawyer

The crime of Armed Assault With Intent to Murder in Massachusetts is defined by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 18. The law requires the district attorney to prove 10, that the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon, 2) that the accused assaulted someone and 3) that the defendant had the intent to cause death to the victim. Malice coupled with a specific intent to kill must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict for this crime. A lesser offense, and one that is typically easier for the prosecutor to prove is assault with the intent to kill. Anytime someone gets shot in Massachusetts he faces the charge or Armed Assault With the Intent to Kill. This crime is a felony and is punishable by up to twenty years in state prison in Massachusetts.

The defenses to this crime are countless. Obviously a theory of self-defense can be employed in those cases where the facts so warrant. Additionally, since this is a specific intent crime alcohol or drug intoxication can negate aspects of the element of intent necessary to sustain a conviction. In this particular case Berberena is going to have to overcome eyewitness accounts if he intends to go to trial and secure an acquittal. This is sometimes difficult in that uninvolved witnesses’ credibility is difficult to challenge. They rarely have a motive to provide testimony other than what they actually observed. On the other hand, it is very unlikely that these people saw more than the event itself. They probably did not see what precipitated the shooting since there was no reason to focus on the group prior to the shooting. This fact might leave their observations somewhat impeachable. Regardless, Shooting Cases in Massachusetts can be extremely difficult to defend especially where the shooting was observed by a neutral party.

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According to a report in the Lowell Sun, several men from the Merrimack Valley have been charged in Federal Court with Conspiracy to Distribute 5 Kilograms or more of Cocaine and Heroin. The investigation of the drug ring, which was primarily located in Lawrence, Massachusetts began in 2009. Then, as part of a surveillance activity agents seized over two million seven hundred thousand dollars. That portion of the investigation further led authorities to Julio “Lingo” Vicente who had been living and operating out of Billerica, Massachusetts. Wiretaps were established as was electronic surveillance equipment, all of which linked others to the drug operation. Vicente was heard on several of the wiretaps discussing the sales and distribution of multiple kilos of cocaine and heroin. Also charged was Freddie Morales-Lugo of Haverhill, Massachusetts who was in Lowell at the time of his arrest. Morales-Lugo was out on bail awaiting trial in Massachusetts for Trafficking Over 200 Grams of Cocaine and Possession of a Firearm. Morales-Lugo’s girlfriend, Yina Gonzalez was arrested on that state charge and faces Massachusetts Drug Trafficking Charges as well. It is alleged that Thevenyn Nova was one of the suppliers to the organization and that Nova obtains his cocaine from Mexico. Nova has been linked to seizures of one hundred seventy three kilos of cocaine in Revere, Massachusetts. Among the seizures made during the course of the investigation were over seven hundred thousand dollars from a car in Wilmington, Massachusetts and twenty four kilos of cocaine in a van. Also charged in this case are Jose Rosario, Ricardo Gomez, Javier Francisco Sanchez-Pastrana, Melson Martinez-Ortiz, Carlos Arias, Sergio Cartagena, Hector Soto-Ramirez, Giovani Garcia-Rivera, Rafael Toribio Vazquez, Ramire Castillo, Erick Bonilla, Kelymn Mejia, Tomas Soto, Jose Jimenez, Omar Delgago, Elvyn Garica and Kelvin Perdomo.

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Massachusetts Federal Court Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

So how does this case get resolved? All of that depends on what defendant we are talking about. As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I enjoy getting involved in cases like this one. Usually, the defendants are viewed the by the prosecution as having differing levels of culpability and their punishment, if convicted often reflects that sentiment. There is a tendency for the accused in cases like this one, particularly when charged in federal court, to “cooperate” against the other defendants to get plea deals that would otherwise be unattainable. The “deal” however is not always as beneficial as one expected. Sometimes, during the proffer the accused give up more information about themselves than the prosecution was aware of. This can at times have the effect of increasing the punishment rather than mitigating the damage. If properly represented by an Experienced Massachusetts Federal Criminal Lawyer this problem can be avoided.

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Lawrence, Massachusetts police broadcast information that two individuals involved in a firearm incident were in a grey Jeep somewhere in the area. Haverhill police hearing the description saw the vehicle at a gas station and arrested Franklin Gary and Cam Vitalone, both from Haverhill. It is reported that two defendants approached two men who were standing near their car in Lawrence. They then threatened the two with a handgun. The victims were able to get into their car and leave the area. The defendants, riding in the grey Jeep followed them onto a highway. Ultimately the victims called the police and gunshots were heard in the background during the call. Both Gary and Vitalone have been charged with Possession of a Firearm, Assault with the Intent to Murder, Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon and Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building. The case is pending in the Lawrence District Court. Vitalone has a pending Gun Case in Massachusetts in another court.

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Gun Case Defense Lawyer in Massachusetts

Essex County Robbery Attorney

When I read an article like this one it is difficult for me to believe the victim’s account of the incident. They want the police to believe that they were simply standing by their car when all of the sudden Vitalone and Gary arrive in their Jeep, approach them and one of the defendants brandishes a black revolver. They then get into their car, drive across the City of Lawrence, get onto Route 495, travel to the other side of Lawrence and call the police while Vitalone and Gary are shooting off a gun in the background. Of course, no one gets shot, no one’s property gets shot and no evidence of a discharged firearm is located.

If anything the victims say is true here is what a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer would expect to see develop. One of the defendants would be found in possession of a gun. A gun would be found in the Jeep. A gun would be found in one of the defendant’s homes. One of the defendant’s fingerprints would be found on the gun. A gunshot residue test would reveal the presence of powder on the defendant’s hands. Witnesses would have seen the car chase. Witnesses would have seen one of the defendants brandish the gun on Dorchester Street. Witnesses would have seen someone reaching out of the Jeep firing a gun. The victims would be able to make an identification of the defendants and attribute to each their individual actions. The victims would have made their 911 call early in the chase at which time police could have initiated their efforts and apprehended the suspects in the act. It is doubtful that any of this happened in the manner in which the victims said it did.

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Yesterday afternoon there was a shootout in the parking lot of a WalMart store in Avon, Massachusetts. Police have not yet disclosed the nature of the incident or its details yet three Brockton residents have been arrested. Ashley Weiner, Keenen Hart and Keshawne Murphy have all been charged with Possession of a Firearm and Conspiracy to Violate the Massachusetts Controlled Substances (Drug) Laws. Keenen, who was shot during the incident, was charged with Disorderly Person in addition to the other two charges. Weiner is also facing a charge of Carrying a Firearm and Murphy must defend a count of Discharging a Firearm near a highway as well as Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. The cases are being prosecuted in the Stoughton District Court.

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Massachusetts Firearm Possession Defense Attorney

Brockton Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Despite the absence of certain information in this article one thing appears clear. Murphy shot Hart. It is Murphy alone who is charged with Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. So it makes that at least for now the police believe that he shot Hart. The basis for this charge is not clear. It would make more sense if Murphy had been charged with Carrying a Firearm rather than Possession of a Firearm. There is a distinct legal difference between these two crimes. Carrying a Firearm in Massachusetts is a felony under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10(a). That statute holds that anyone carrying a firearm without being properly licensed to do so must serve at least eighteen months in the house of correction or a state prison. There is another subsection to G.L. c. 269 §10 that does not require a mandatory jail sentence, that being G.L. c. 269 §10(h). The district attorney alone decides how to charge these cases. Usually, someone who is caught physically holding a gun is charged under 10(a), the mandatory minimum portion of the statute. Someone who is near someone with a gun and whom the prosecution thinks knew that the person had a gun gets charged under 10(h). I would have imagined that in this case Murphy, not Weiner would have been charged under 10(a). This can be explained perhaps after the shooting Weiner picked up the gun and concealed it to protect the shooter.

As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer, the Massachusetts Drug Conspiracy Charge always intrigues me. Anytime someone is “around” drugs yet not actually in physical possession of the drugs he or she gets charged with Conspiracy. The suggestion is that people who involve themselves with drug users or drug dealers in Massachusetts must be enabling them or facilitating their efforts so they must be charged as well. I can tell you that very few Drug Conspiracy cases in Massachusetts result in convictions particularly where the accused is represented by an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney.

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Around 4:30 in the morning this past Sunday Massachusetts State Police responded to a call for a Motor Vehicle accident in the northbound lane of Route 24. The arrived to learn that Jason Ribeiro of Brockton, Massachusetts was driving a car the rear ended another vehicle. The victim called 911. The police investigation revealed the presence of a large capacity loaded firearm in Ribeiro’s car. Both of Ribeiro’s passengers, a juvenile and John Pires also from Brockton were charged with Possession of a Firearm. The case is currently pending in the Brockton District Court.

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Brockton Gun Defense Lawyer

It is extremely uncommon for multiple parties to get convicted for possessing the same firearm, particularly where the weapon is found in a motor vehicle. Unless one of the occupants is actually holding the gun or the weapon is tested for fingerprints there is simply no way to attribute Possession of the Firearm to one of the parties as opposed to the others. Now Massachusetts and most other jurisdictions recognize that someone can “constructively possess” an item. The law on constructive possession states that even without actual physical possession of an item a person can be legally responsible for possessing that object via constructive possession. To be convicted for possessing an item under that theory the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has knowledge of the object, the ability to exercise control over that object and the intent to exercise control over that item. As to constructively possessing a gun in Massachusetts one of the leading cases holds that you can infer constructive possession of the gun “from defendant’s proximity to gun in motor vehicle, where evidence that, when stopped by police, defendant ‘first leaned forward and to the right before complying with the order to raise his hands[,] . . . [and] [a] loaded handgun was found protruding from under the passenger seat in the vehicle he was operating'”. Conversely, one cannot infer constructive Possession of a Gun in Massachusetts where the gun is in proximity to a defendant’s personal papers. Proximity and knowledge do not show possession.

So how here does the district attorney sustain a prosecution against all three where there exists only one gun? They probably cannot. This is where the assistance of an Experienced Massachusetts Firearm Defense Lawyer becomes necessary. It is possible in some circumstances to succeed on a motion to dismiss in cases like this, at least as to two of the defendants. It might be possible for that motion to apply to all three defendants. To better assess this case it is necessary to know where the weapon was found in the car. What if anything did the defendants say. Is there any physical evidence on the weapon that links one or more of the suspects to the gun; i.e. DNA evidence or fingerprint evidence. What did the person in the other car see relative to the weapon. Where was the weapon found in the car? Who was the owner of the car?

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According to a report in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune a couple, Nicole Callahan and Brad Barton, living on Vernon Street in Haverhill invited Robert Donovan and Daniel Barley to their home. Shortly after their arrival one of the two brandished a Firearm. They demanded money from the victims. The couple said that they did not have any money. Barton was then pistol whipped. Callahan saw a gun pointed at her. The assailants left. The police were called. Callahan provided their names and stated that both were staying at a local hotel. Haverhill police went to the hotel and located Donovan and Barley in a car. A search of the car revealed a firearm. The defendants have been charged with Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Ammunition, Armed Robbery and Assault With a Dangerous Weapon. The case is currently pending in the Haverhill District Court.

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http://www.eagletribune.com/haverhill/x564244885/Two-men-arrested-for-armed-robbery-assault-on-Bradford-couple#

Any Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney reading this article will immediately sense something is illogical with the victim’s story. The defendants who are staying in a local hotel were supposed to “hang out” with Barton and Callahan. They get “invited” to their home, an apartment. For no reason they pull out a gun and demand money. Why would the defendants think that these people had money to surrender? The “something else” the article refers to that the defendants “had in mind” is exactly what a good criminal lawyer will investigate to defend this case.

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Armed with a Search Warrant yesterday Brockton, Massachusetts Police went to 28 Bunker Avenue, the home of Kamal Smith. They arrived to find Smith in his bedroom. He had near him a handgun, ammunition and some Marijuana. During the search officers also found nearly twenty grams of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of two thousand dollars. The bags of crack were individually wrapped. It is likely that Smith will be charged with Trafficking Cocaine Over Fourteen Grams in the Plymouth County Superior Court. It is also expected that charges of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm will issue as well. Additionally, over twenty Percocet pills were found and seized. Smith faces charges of Possession With the Intent to Distribute Class C and a School Zone Violation for this.

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http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1076645145/Brockton-police-seize-2-000-worth-of-crack-cocaine-in-drug-bust

Brockton Massachusetts Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer

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So what are the indicia of Trafficking here as opposed to simple possession. The prosecution will argue several factors in support of this contention. The quantity of the drugs is most significant. The district attorney will have a drug expert, probably an experienced narcotics officer who will say that the quantity of drugs exceeded what is expected for someone who consumes those substances. The individual packaging also suggests the intent to sell. The gun they will argue was used as protection from potential drug rip offs. Conversely, Smith might be able to show a large drug habit and a recent purchase of the drugs. The absence of scales, packaging materials, drug receipts and more may help cast some doubt on the allegations of distribution as well. Smith’s Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney will investigate defenses such as this as well as likely mounting an attack on the legality of the Search.

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Late last week a Massachusetts State Police Officer was on patrol on Route 138 in Raynham. At around 1:00 p.m. he observed a car following a pick up truck too closely, a violation of 720 Code of Massachusetts Regulation (CMR) 9.06(7). The trooper stopped the car and immediately smelled marijuana. He then saw a plastic bag containing marijuana in the center console. The passenger, Alexander Torres, eighteen from Brockton was asked what was in the bag. Torres responded that the drugs were his. There were five passengers in the car. One of them appeared to be shaking. All of them were ordered out of the car. The car was searched. The officer found several more bags of marijuana. Underneath the passenger seat the trooper found a loaded firearm. Torres accepted responsibility for the gun as well. The driver was cited for the Motor Vehicle Violation. Torres has been charged with Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Marijuana.

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http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1073915927/Brockton-man-arrested-on-gun-drug-charges-after-traffic-stop#axzz1FvJHyFQc

In the past I have commented that Possession of Marijuana in Massachusetts is not a crime if the amount possessed is less than an ounce. It follows that stopping a car and finding marijuana in the car does not automatically give law enforcement the right to conduct a Search of the car. The constitutional protections associated with Searches and Seizures in my opinion strengthen in these situations. In the past in certain instances the police would have been warranted to search when they observed marijuana in plain view after making a lawful motor vehicle stop. That all changed with the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana. There must now be more to justify a search after making such a cursory observation. The article does not convince me that this search was permissible. Torres might have a shot at suppressing the evidence seized if his Massachusetts Criminal Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer can argue an Unlawful Search and Seizure occurred.

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On October 18, 2010 Lynn Police officers responded to a report that someone was Selling Heroin at an apartment. They arrived to find a strong odor of marijuana and Modesto Cruz in the hallway of an apartment on Broad Street. Cruz saw the police and fled. He was caught. During a brief struggle police found a loaded Firearm, a knife and Marijuana. Cruz supposedly admitted that he had purchased the gun and was in the process of selling the weapon at the time the police arrived. The gun had been reported stolen from a car in Danvers. Bail was set at two thousand five hundred dollars which Cruz posted. The case is pending in the Salem Superior Court. Cruz has been charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

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Lynn Massachusetts Gun Possession Defense Lawyer

So just how serious is this case? Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10G(a) states that anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime or serious drug offense and is subsequently caught in possession of a firearm faces a mandatory minimum three year state prison sentence. For the purposes of this statute a violent crime is defined as any crime punishable by imprisonment of at least one year and has the element of either force, threatened or otherwise, burglary or kidnapping, the use of explosives or conduct that presents a serious risk of physical injury to another. This wording of this statute is extremely broad and includes as predicates both adult and juvenile convictions.

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DEA agents along with Lawrence, Massachusetts police officers raided Richard Cruz’s home yesterday after obtaining a Search Warrant. The home located at 2 Inman Street was searched while Cruz was present. In a bedroom in the apartment officers located about twenty grams of heroin, a loaded Firearm and assorted Drug Paraphernalia. Cruz was found in possession of nearly one thousand dollars cash. Right now Cruz stands charged with Trafficking Heroin in Excess of 14 Grams and Possession of a Firearm. The case is pending in the Lawrence District Court. It is expected that this case will be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem.

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http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x789956562/Heroin-handgun-seized-in-Lawrence-raid#

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As with any drug case that involves Search and Seizure issues Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers need to review the Search Warrant to determine whether there exists a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Successful challenges to the issuance of a search warrant typically result in the dismissal of drug cases. Our office looks hard at the warrant, application, return and supporting affidavit on every drug we defend. For over twenty years we have found innumerable defects in these documents. Our attacks on these flaws have secured freedom and justice for our clients on numerous occasions. We believe that there is a defense to every case and we are always prepared to fight for your rights.

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