Last Friday Salem, Massachusetts police received a tip that a certain car was carrying a large amount of cocaine. Police spent the day looking for the car. They eventually found it operating on Washington Street. Officers followed the car and “waited for the driver to commit a traffic violation”. According to the Salem News, the driver, Angel F. Merced Virella, 37, of Salem did just that. He failed to use a signal when turning and he was stopped. Virella did not have a license. He was arrested and charged with operating without a license. The police noticed an excessive amount of air freshener in the car suggesting to them that Virella was trying to conceal a particular odor. The car was towed and a search warrant was obtained. Then came the search of his car which revealed over five hundred grams of a highly pure cocaine in a concealed compartment. Virella has been charged with trafficking over two hundred grams of cocaine.
Reading this article several thoughts come to mind. The legality of the stop will no doubt be challenged by Virella’s lawyer. What made the police so certain that by following him around he would commit a motor vehicle violation warranting a stop. Exactly what information did the police have when they were looking for that vehicle? Obviously the information came from an informant but how reliable was that person? What prior dealings, if any did the police have with this individual? Did the car belong to Virella or someone else? Were Virella’s fingerprints on the drugs? Many of these questions will be answered when the district attorney surrenders police reports and related materials to the defense. Virella’s attorney will probably file a motion to suppress the stop and seizure of the vehicle. If this is successful the case will probably be dismissed.
We have been successfully defending drug cases in Massachusetts and throughout the country for over twenty years. Call us with questions about your drug case at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.