This past Sunday night various Massachusetts police agencies received information from the Maine branch of the DEA advising them to watch for a certain vehicle expected to drive through the northern Essex County area along Route 495. Apparently law enforcement had information that one of the occupants had a large quantity of cocaine in his possession. With this information one Massachusetts state trooper came upon the vehicle and claimed that the vehicle had a broken right tail light. The trooper stopped the vehicle and with backup from the Haverhill and Merrimac police conducted an investigation. At that time officers located a large quantity of cocaine on Clinton Jennings, a Bronx, New York native. They also found cocaine on Courtney Nye. The driver and another passenger, Nicolas Norris and Daniel Borders respectively were also arrested. All four men have been charged with trafficking cocaine. The case is currently pending in the Newburyport District Court where bail was set at one hundred thousand dollars.
A couple of questions immediately come to mind when reading this article. Why would anyone trafficking cocaine drive with a broken tail light? Faulty equipment such as defective or broken tail lights are the easiest way to get pulled over legitimately. The answer to that question is simple. Either the tail light was not broken when the driver got into the car that evening or the driver had no idea that his passengers had large quantities of cocaine in their possession. The best way to prove that the tail lights were not broken is to get photographs from gas stations where the vehicle filled up earlier that evening. Here is another question. Why are Norris and Borders charged with trafficking cocaine? What evidence is there that they knew that Jennings and Nye had cocaine in their possession? More importantly, how is the district attorney going to prove their intent relative to trafficking? Merely being present at a crime scene is not sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. How about the quantity of cocaine? How much cocaine was seized? The amount triggers the minimum mandatory sentence that these men face if convicted.
It appears that a motion to suppress will be filed the lawyers for each of these men. If successful the drugs get suppressed and cannot be used as evidence at trial. This effectively ends the case. I imagine for at least two of these men, Jennings and Nye, the success of their defenses lies with the validity of the stop. Keep in mind that under Massachusetts law stopping someone for a broken tail light does not give police the right to remove the driver and occupants from the vehicle and conduct a search of the driver, occupants or vehicle.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has been defending Drug Cases in Massachusetts and throughout the country successfully for over twenty years. We have won drug trafficking cases at trial, through motions to dismiss and motions to suppress. We are prepared to defend you on your drug case now. Call us at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.