This past Monday postal workers at the Shrewsbury office were drawn to a thirty pound package that seemed somewhat suspicious. A drug sniffing dog was the brought on the scene. The dog alerted officials that package contained drugs. That triggered an investigation involving Framingham and Natick Police. The addresses, James Auerbach of Natick arrived to pick the package up from the post office in Shrewsbury. He was followed by the police to the apartment he shares with Thomas Barnes, the co-defendant. According to a report in the Metrowest Daily News Auerbach admitted knowing that the package contained drugs. He also admitted to paying for the drugs. Consequently, the police obtained a search warrant. In the apartment they found more marijuana, over twenty pounds in all. The street value of the drugs is estimated in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. Upon entering the apartment the police observed a .38 caliber firearm. Both defendants have been charged with Conspiracy and Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana, a Class D Substance. Auerbach has also been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. The case is pending in the Framingham District Court. However, Auerbach’s prior criminal record suggests that this case will be prosecuted in the Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn.
The good thing for Barnes is that there is no mandatory minimum jail or prison sentence associated with any of the crimes with which he has been charged. In cases like this, provided the defendant has no prior record there is always a chance that jail time can be avoided. Auerbach on the other hand may not be as lucky. The article states that he has been convicted on two prior occasions of either two serious drug offenses or one serious drug offense and one violent crime. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10G, he is facing a minimum mandatory fifteen years in state prison. As I have mentioned in several prior blog posts there are defenses to accusations such as this one. What first comes to mind is suppressing Auerbach’s statements or admissions that the drugs were his. Suppressing the search is an obvious approach as well. Moving to dismiss the firearm charge may be viable. What evidence do the police have that suggests Auerbach is the owner of the gun as opposed to Barnes. Remember, Auerbach was out of the home picking up the package. There is no indication that Barnes was with him at that time. Did he admit that the gun was his? Was the gun printed? The answer to both of these questions is probably not. Here is another thought. Auerbach might want to try to vacate his prior convictions so that the minimum mandatory portion of the gun violation loses effect.
Hiring an attorney is an important decision no matter what type of charge you are facing. This case is a perfect example of that. Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers realize that there can be future consequences for criminal convictions. Auerbach’s case is the perfect example of this. His prior convictions may very well effect how this case is defended.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is aware of issues that may plague defendants in the future. We have over twenty years experience defending the accused throughout the country. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.