Lawrence, Methuen Men Charged With Trafficking Cocaine In Worcester

This past Saturday a Massachusetts State Trooper pulled a car over for speeding shortly after 4:00 in the afternoon. Smelling what appeared to be an abundance of air fresheners the officer became suspicious. The two occupants of the vehicle then gave the officer a story that did not check out. A canine unit was called. The dog alerted officers to the dashboard and the passenger side airbag. Officers then forcibly opened the dashboard. They found cocaine and over thirty three thousand dollars cash. The weight of the cocaine was approximated at one half kilogram, over two hundred grams. The occupants, Joel Alicea of Lawrence, Massachusetts and Alejandro Nunez Perez of Methuen, Massachusetts were arrested and charged with Conspiracy, Trafficking Cocaine, and other Massachusetts Drug Crimes.

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This case presents some interesting Massachusetts Search and Seizure issues. Massachusetts Courts have held that investigative detentions must be no longer than are necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Thus, in this case most Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers will ask what permitted the officers to detain the defendants longer than necessary to issue the speeding ticket. I imagine that it was more than a few minutes from the time the car was pulled over until the canine unit arrived. On several occasions Massachusetts courts have held that detentions of this length were unconstitutional. The next issue that strikes me is what links these defendants to the drugs. Apparently the vehicle belonged to someone else. The drugs and money were concealed. How then are these defendants responsible for Trafficking and Conspiracy.

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