During a recent traffic stop, Worcester police officers noticed that the men in the vehicle were moving around as officers approached. Suspicious, police investigated and found approximately 855 grams, or 1.88 pounds, of cocaine. They arrested a 24-year-old and 56-year-old and seized the drugs, which they estimate had a street value of $85,000.
Drug arrests like these are fairly common. FBI statistics show 12,086 drug abuse offenses in Massachusetts in 2010. In fact, people in Worcester and throughout Massachusetts are believed to use drugs at a higher rate than residents of other states. Some of the most commonly used drugs are heroin, cocaine and OxyContin, as the following review of recent significant arrests for drug crimes in Worcester shows.
Undercover Drug Buy Leads to Heroin, Cocaine and Marijuana
In one recent drug bust, a Worcester resident was arrested after an undercover officer purchased drugs from him. Police found bags of heroin and cocaine during a search of the man's apartment. During a search of another apartment at the address, police seized 60 grams of cocaine, 44 packets of heroin, marijuana and more than $1,000 in cash and arrested a second Worcester man on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute.
Four Arrested After 20 Grams of Cocaine Found
In another case, officers patrolling in Worcester saw a group of men in a parked car. A man standing next to the driver's door looked around and then reached in the vehicle toward the driver. Police, who suspected they had come upon a drug sale, approached the vehicle and saw a bag of marijuana on the center console. Police also found more than 20 grams of cocaine in the trunk. They arrested four men, ages 22, 28, 33 and 35, on suspicion of several drug offenses.
Street Transaction Yields Oxycodone Pills
A day later, police arrested three more men in an unrelated incident. Police saw two men sitting in a van in a store parking lot. The van drove around the block and a man got out, walked back toward the store and entered an SUV. The SUV traveled about 100 yards and stopped. The man then left the SUV with something in his front pocket.
Police, believing they had just watched a drug transaction, stopped the man who had just left the SUV and found oxycodone pills for which he did not have a prescription. They followed the SUV and watched the driver conduct two narcotics exchanges with another man. During a search of the men, police found a bag of oxycodone pills and cash on one man and one pill in the pocket of the other man. They arrested all three on suspicion of drug possession or drug possession with intent to distribute.
Legal Help Is Essential for a Drug Charge
All of the arrestees likely faced felony drug charges, but that does not mean they will be found guilty. Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion of a crime before they begin a search. They must base their decision to search on specific and articulable facts, such as a suspect looking around before reaching in the vehicle toward the driver of a parked car, that lead to a logical inference of a crime. If police did not have a legal basis to search a vehicle, person or property, the evidence they found may be suppressed and charges dropped.
A knowledgeable lawyer can assess and challenge the basis for search or seizure of evidence, of the execution of a search warrant, and other aspects of a case. In short, the right attorney can mean the difference between a conviction or a dismissal and a long jail or prison sentence or a short one.