February 19, 2011

Weymouth Man Arrested on Drug Charges of Selling Heroin


Juan Velez, 39, was recently arrested on Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges for allegedly dealing heroin out of his Weymouth apartment. He was arraigned this past Friday in Quincy District Court on charges of Drug Trafficking in Heroin and Drug Violation in School Zone.

According to the Weymouth Police Department and the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, police executed a search warrant at Velez' Weymouth apartment earlier in the week. In the apartment, officers alleged seized heroin that was packaged for distribution. Weymouth police also seized several thousands of dollars, as well as two cars they allege Velez used to conduct his drug dealing activities.

At this time, it's unclear what prompted the Weymouth Police Department to apply for a Search Warrant for Juan Velez' home. In many cases such as these, the police use various methods in order to obtain the purported probable cause that enables them to obtain a search warrant.

Often times, a drug investigation will be initiated when an 'anonymous tip' or a 'confidential informant' provides information that drugs are being sold from within a certain location. In some cases, police will use a confidential informant to go in and conduct 'controlled drug purchases' from the location they believe drugs are being sold from. Other times, officers will also go undercover to purchase drugs themselves.

When a confidential informant is used in a controlled drug purchase, the officers will often ask the informant to purchase drugs on several different occasions over various dates. In these types of drug investigations, the officers will meet with the informant at a location near the target location, search him to make sure he doesn't have any contraband on him, and then provide him with marked currency to purchase the drugs. At that point, the officers will maintain a surveillance as the informant enters the target apartment to make the drug purchase.

Once the purchase is completed, the offices will maintain surveillance as the informant exits the target location and they will meet up with him at a predetermined location. The informant is again searched and the drugs are provided to the officers conducting the surveillance.

In addition, the officers will seek information from the confidential informant as to how the drug transaction went down, including: a description of the layout of the location and/or the specific apartment number he entered; the names or descriptions of all persons that were in the apartment, as well as the person(s) who were involved in the transaction.

Once a few transactions are conducted in this manner, the police officers will then outline their investigation in an affidavit and apply for a search warrant, which is almost always granted.

Notwithstanding the issuance of a search warrant and ultimate seizure of drugs, money and the arrest of the person under investigation, a search warrant should always be carefully scrutinized to ensure that the affidavit sets forth sufficient probable cause and evaluated for a potential challenged on a Motion to Suppress.

Whenever anyone is arrested and/or charged on Massachusetts Drug Crimes, it is critical that they Consult With a Boston Drug Lawyer.

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February 18, 2011

Framingham Student Charged with Rape of Classmate on School Bus


A Framingham High School student was arrested on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges and arraigned in Framingham Juvenile Court today on charges including Rape of a Child and Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14.

According to the Framingham Police Department, the student (whose name was not released because he is a juvenile) was arrested yesterday at Framingham High School for allegedly raping the 14 year old classmate on a school bus Wednesday afternoon. No additional information has been released at this time, including whether there were any witnesses and/or if the bus was in operation or had other passengers.

Notwithstanding the lack of information that has been released concerning these alleged acts, by virtue of having been charged with Rape of a Child, the suggestion is that the sexual conduct allegedly committed as not consensual.

By definition, the criminal offense of Rape of Child involves the sexual intercourse with a child under 16, where the child is compelled by force against his/her will to engage in the act.

By contrast, the Sex Crime of Statutory Rape involves a sexual act that was not carried out under the guise of force.

Additionally, the Sex Crime of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14, by definition, involves an alleged touching consisting of an 'indecent' act against a child under 14. For purposes of Massachusetts law, an 'indecent act' is one that is "fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency, most often involving touching the portions of the anatomy thought private.

As with many Massachusetts Sex Crimes, being charged with Rape of a Child and Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14 is extremely serious, and the consequences upon a conviction for this young man can be devastating. Aside from the potential for commitment to the Department of Youth Services, this defendant could also face Sex Offender Registration; submitting his DNA to the Massachusetts DNA Database; subject him to a term of community parole supervision for life; and could also serve as a predicate sexual offense for civil commitment as a 'sexually dangerous person."

For those reasons, all persons charged with any Massachusetts Sex Crimes would clearly benefit from being represented by an aggressive and competent Boston Sex Crimes Lawyer.

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February 17, 2011

Lowell Woman Charged with Stabbing Assault on Pregnant Teen


Stephanie Gonzalez, 20, of Lowell, was arrested on Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges in connection with stabbing of a pregnant 17 year old girl this past Sunday. She was charged with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and held on $1,000 cash bail following her arraignment in Lowell District Court.

The Lowell Police Department and the Essex County District Attorney's Office alleges that Gonzalez stabbed the young woman at least three times, including once in the back. The alleged incident occurred this past Sunday, which resulted in the pregnant girl suffering from a punctured lung. Despite the attack and after being taken to a Boston hospital, authorities report that the baby is expected to survive.

From all reports, it appears that no witnesses were able to provide information as to what happened, other than confirming that the alleged victim was a resident of the home. Neighbors would only say that they heard women yelling and crying, but couldn't tell police anything specific about the incident.

Interestingly, this incident might present a Defense of Self-Defense, as Gonzalez was also taken to a hospital with injuries of her own and as she maintained that she was the one who was victimized. Given the low cash bail imposed on this case under the alleged circumstances, I wouldn't doubt if that were true...

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February 16, 2011

North Andover High School Coach Arrested on Massachusetts Pornography Charges


David Castricone, the North Andover High School wrestling coach, was arrested Monday at his Sutton business on Sex Crimes Charges of Possession of Child Pornography.

He was released following his arraignment in Lawrence District Court after posting $1,500 bail.

The Associated Press reported that police had received a tip that led to a Search Warrant being executed at Castricone's home. The Search Warrant allegedly yielded images, presumably on his computer, of adult and child pornography, including 77 pictures of women that suggest they were not aware that they were being photographed.

The Essex County District Attorney's Office also alleged that a hidden camera caught David Castricone allegedly entering the North Andover High School girls' locker room several times. At one point, a female student reported that she had seen a man in the locker room with his hands in a specific locker. The investigation of this locker, which is reported to have had holes in it, then led to the discovery of a hidden camera. Police allege that "the holes in the locker door were large enough that a device would be able to record through them."

Massachusetts law defines Possession of Child Pornography as the possession of a photograph or visual reproduction, or depiction by computer, of any child whom the person knows or reasonably should know to be under the age of 18, and the child is engaged or portrayed in any sexual act, or depicted in a sexual pose.

The penalty for Possession of Child Pornography in Massachusetts is up to 5 years in state prison.

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February 15, 2011

Boston Man Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide in Hit and Run...and Drug Crimes Too


Colin Ratiu, 24 of Boston, was arraigned yesterday morning in the Roxbury District Court on Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes Charges, including Vehicular Homicide and Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death. He was held on $7,500 bail.

Ratiu is alleged to have struck and killed 24 year old Northeastern University graduate student Andrew Prior who was riding his scooter last November and dragged him 150 feet. According to the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Ratiu then allegedly left the scene of the accident.

After the November 14, 2010 crash, Boston homicide detectives reported witnesses told them a silver or grey sport utility vehicle fled from the scene. This past Thursday, Boston Police received an anonymous tip that the grey SUV involved in the accident had been driven by Ratiu. Police then located the SUV in Roslindale, which allegedly still had front-end damage on the right fender and windshield, and both front air bags had been deployed.

Although the vehicle did not belong to Ratiu, Boston Police alleged that the owner of the SUV informed police that Ratiu had used the car in November and claimed that the damage resulted from him hitting something to avoid hitting a skunk.

Following his arraignment yesterday in Roxbury Court, however, Boston Police Officers executed a Search Warrant at Ratiu's home in Roslindale and allegedly found a "climate-controlled closet [where he was allegedly] growing marijuana."

Consequently, Ratiu is also expected to be brought into West Roxbury District Court this morning to face additional Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges.

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February 13, 2011

Boston Man Charged with Committing Sex Crime on Train


Abdulkadir Abbas, 29, of Boston, was arrested this past Wednesday on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges allegedly committed on a fellow passenger on an Orange Line Train.

Abbas, charged with Indecent Assault & Battery, allegedly sat next to the woman on the train and touched her inner thigh and groin area outside her pants. The woman reported to the MBTA Police that she yelled at Abbas and tried to push his hand away, but he allegedly continued in his attempts to grope her.

The woman, however, managed to take a picture of Abbas and reported the alleged incident to the MBTA Police when she got off the train at the Jackson Square Station. Abbas was later found and arrested at the Forest Hills Train Station in Jamaica Plain.

In Massachusetts, persons charged with the crime of the Sex Crime of Indecent Assault & Battery risk being subjected to Sex Offender Registration if convicted; as well as requiring them to submit their DNA to the state database and be subject to community parole supervision for life.

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February 12, 2011

Beverly Men Arrested on Armed Robbery Charges


Three Beverly men, Robert C. Kenney, 56, Christopher Littlejohn, 30, and Ramone Arakelow, 34, were arrested yesterday morning on charges of Conspiracy to Commit a Home Invasion and Armed Robbery against a purported Malden drug dealer.

The Massachusetts State Police, Lynn Police Department and the FBI were all reportedly involved in the investigation, who apparently created the identity of a fictitious Malden drug dealer and would-be victim. The men were apparently under investigation for offenses including Massachusetts Gun Crimes; and notably Robert C. Kenney, was allegedly involved in the sale of several illegal guns in areas of Boston and the North Shore.

All three men were arrested in Saugus in Kenney's truck when they pulled into a parking lot on Route 99 to allegedly plan out the Home Invasion and Armed Robbery. In the vehicle, the men allegedly had knives, a ski mask, duct tape and purported false identifications to pose as federal immigration officials.

The Beverly men were scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Lynn District Court on Conspiracy Charges, as well as Unlawful Possession of Burglarious Tools.

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February 11, 2011

Boston Teenager Charged with 2010 Murder on MBTA Bus


Kim Gross, Jr., 18, of the Roslindale section of Boston, was arrested and is facing Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the death of two men that occurred last November on an MBTA bus.

Gross is expected to be arraigned Monday in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on First Degree Murder Charges, and possibly Aggravated Assault & Battery. He is also facing additional Massachusetts Gun Charges, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Possession of a Loaded Firearm, for a gun that was allegedly found at the time of his arrest.

The Boston Police Department alleges that Gross was riding the MBTA's Route 44 bus in Dorchester on November 2, 2010, along with the two victims. While on the bus, Gross allegedly got into an argument with the two men, and a knife fight ensued. One of the men, Richard Allen, 21, was taken to Boston Medical Center where he was pronounced dead; while the other man survived the alleged attack.

According to the Boston Police Department, Kim Gross was reportedly under surveillance by Boston Police as well as the MBTA Transit Police Department. The car he was driving in was stopped yesterday by Boston Police, and a ballistics dog (one trained to find firearms) was called to sniff the car. The dog reportedly discovered a gun in the car Gross was in.

No additional details have been released relative to the circumstances surrounding the stabbing on the MBTA bus last November, so it's unclear if Gross was known to the surviving victim and if there any Identification Defense; or whether the alleged murder weapon was ever recovered and tested forensic evidence, such as fingerprint evidence, that might link Gross to the murder.

It was also reported that, at the time of his death, Richard Allen had criminal charges of Armed Robbery pending.

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February 10, 2011

Man Wanted on Barnstable Kidnapping Charges Arrested on Cape Cod for Stealing Car


DePasquale.jpgPhillip A. DePasquale, 39, was arrested by Barnstable Police Officers on Massachusetts Theft Crimes Charges for allegedly stealing a car in Hyannis and then leading police on a chase that involved ramming into a police cruiser.

DePasquale was arraigned yesterday in the Barnstable District Court for several crimes, including Larceny of a Motor Vehicle; Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle; Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; Failure to Stop for Police; Leaving the Scene of An Accident with Property Damage; and Possession of Burglarious Tools.

According to the Barnstable Police Department, DePasquale allegedly stole a car that parked at a Pizzeria Uno in Hyannis. When officers tried to pull him over, he refused and rammed the car in the police cruiser. DePasquale led police on a short chase but was apprehended when he allegedly crashed the car into a tree in Sandwich.

Upon his arrest on the Massachusetts Theft Crimes Charges, Depasquale was also determine to be a fugitive who had been on the Most Wanted List of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Division.

DePasquale had been wanted for allegedly Kidnapping a 27 year old disabled women in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, in late January. According to Massachusetts State Police, DePasquale is alleged to have tied her up in a vacant vehicle in Oxford and then left her in the car alone overnight during one of the snow storms.

For those charges, DePasquale is expected to be arraigned next Tuesday on several Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges, including Kidnapping and Assault & Battery.

It was also reported the DePasquale's criminal history includes a 1995 Massachusetts Manslaughter conviction, for which he was sentenced to 10-12 years in state prison, which explains why he was held on $100,000 bail for the theft of the car in Hyannis.

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February 8, 2011

Quinlan Junta Arraigned in Reading Home Invasion


junta.jpgQuinlan Junta, 21, and Jason Molle, 20, were both arraigned this morning in Woburn District Court on several Massachusetts Violent Crimes Charges in connection with the robbery of a Reading apartment this past Monday.

Both Junta and Molle were charged with Home Invasion, Armed Robbery, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Conspiracy.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Junta and Molle allegedly broke their way into the Reading apartment and forced a man to undress and then lie on the floor; and then they allegedly beat and robbed him.

Both Quinlan Junta and Jason Molle were held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing, which is scheduled for later this week in Woburn District Court. In order to detain a defendant, without bail and pending the outcome of the criminal case, a hearing is held for a Judge to decide whether 'no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community.'

If the name 'Junta' sounds familiar, Quinlan Junta is the son of Thomas Junta who, was convicted of the deadly beating of another man at their sons' hockey practice in 2000. Thomas Junta was convicted of Manslaughter and served 8 years in state prison - he was released this past August.

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February 7, 2011

Woman Arrested at Boston's Logan Airport for Drug Smuggling


cocaine-smuggling-jetblue-mule.jpgLuisa Gill, 21, was arrested by Massachusetts State Police and Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials on Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges after she was allegedly found to have swallowed 50 pellets of cocaine.

Following her arraignment this morning in the East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court for on drug charges of Trafficking in Cocaine Over 200 grams, Gill was held on $200,000 cash bail.

Gill was reported to have swallowed the 50 cocaine pellets prior to boarding a Jet Blue flight from the Dominican Republic to Boston. Upon her arrival in Boston, law enforcement questioned Gill about her short trip, during which she began to "behave suspiciously." She continued to be questioned before allegedly admitting that she had swallowed almost 1 pound of cocaine.

State Police officers transported Luisa Gill to Massachusetts General Hospital where she was given a laxative to expedite the removal of the cocaine from her system. The cocaine pills were discovered to have been compressed into tiny air-tight packages. Massachusetts State Police report that the 'street value' of the cocaine seized from Gill's stomach was in the area of approximately $50,000.

In cases such as these, where alleged drug smugglers ingest packets of cocaine, the persons run the risk of suffering from acute cocaine poisoning should any of the packets fail while in the person's stomach.

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February 6, 2011

Boston Man Arraigned for Saugus Bank Robbery


Rolando Gala, 28, of Boston, was arraigned this past week on Massachusetts Robbery Charges for allegedly committing an Unarmed Robbery of an Eastern Bank branch in Saugus this past June.

According to the Saugus Police Department, Gala allegedly entered the bank at around 1:30 p.m. and demanded cash from the teller. The teller is reported to have given Gala $3,300 in cash before he allegedly fled the bank.

The Saugus Police responded to the bank after a panic alarm was activated. Although Gala had already fled the area, police report that the robbery was caught on the bank's surveillance system.

Following his arraignment on Unarmed Robbery Charges in Salem Superior Court, Gala was held on $100,000 cash bail.

Unarmed Robbery:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Unarmed Robbery carries a potential penalty of up to life in state prison.

By definition, the crime of Unarmed Robbery does not involve the alleged perpetrator being armed with a dangerous weapon, but who by force and/or violence, steals or takes from the person of another money or other property.

In contrast, were a firearm or other dangerous weapon were used in the robbery, Gala would have been charged with Armed Robbery, which also carries a life sentence in Massachusetts.

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February 5, 2011

Brockton Man Arrested on Massachusetts Drug and Gun Crimes Charges


James Widener, 35, of Brockton, was arrested this past week for allegedly violating Massachusetts Gun Laws and Drug Crimes. Being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement, he was charged with several crimes, including:

Widener has also been charged as an Armed Career Criminal, which is a sentencing enhancement for those previously convicted of gun crimes.

According to Massachusetts police, Widener was under investigation for various crimes he allegedly committed over the past several months in Plymouth, Norfolk and Bristol Counties. Widener also was reported to have had outstanding Arrest Warrants for other alleged crimes in Quincy and Boston.

Widener was arrested along with Briana Tobin, 21, also of Brockton, while the two were traveling in a car in Kingston Thursday morning. After the car was stopped, police allegedly recovered a loaded handgun, a 12-round magazine, heroin and cocaine.

Following his arraignment in Brockton District Court, Widener was held on $50,000 cash bail, but was held for 60 days without bail after the judge revoked his bail out of the Quincy District Court.

Meanwhile, Briana Tobin was also charged with Possession of a Class B Substance; Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm and Feeding Device; and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. Following her arraignment, she was held on $2,500 cash bail and sent to a substance abuse treatment center.

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February 4, 2011

Wellesley Police Arrest Massachusetts Bay College Student on Gun Charges


dookhran-300x225.jpgDarryl Max Dookhran, 18, was arrested yesterday on Massachusetts Gun Crime Charges for allegedly unlawfully carrying a firearm on the campus of Mass. Bay College where he is also a student.

Doohkran is facing a number of gun charges, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; Possession of a Loaded Firearm; Unlawful Possession of Ammunition; Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm; Possession of a Large Capacity Feeding Device; Felon in Possession of a Firearm; Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.

According to the Wellesley Police Department, "an investigation" was conducted with regards to Dookhran and he was asked to speak with detectives. At some point, when police tried to pat him down, Dookhran allegedly backed against a wall and resisted the officer's attempt by punching and kicking them. A search of Dookhran's backpack revealed a loaded semi-automatic 9mm gun.

Notably, no information has been released as to why Dookhran was being investigated in the first place...

Although at first glance it may appear that the 'men in blue' at the Wellesley Police Department did a wonderful job at apprehending a criminal, it does seem that they may have made an egregious violation of Dookhran's Consitutional rights and, in the process, jeopardized their case against him. Simply based on the details that have been released concerning Dookhran's arrest, it may be that the police officer's were not justified in pat frisking him...

Under Massachusetts Constitutional law, not every encounter between a person being 'investigated' and a potential suspect gives rise to the justification to pat frisk that person. The law recognizes that even a frisk of someone's outer clothing is an intrusion and will only be justified if there is reasonable apprehension of danger to the police. In other words, if there is no danger, then a pat frisk is not justified.

In Dookhran's case, so long as there is no evidence that he made any over movements, statements did anything else to warrant the officers in fearing for their safety, then their attempting to pat frisk him should be challenged by way of a Motion to Suppress. If successful, then all the subsequent evidence obtained, i.e., the gun, ammunition, etc., will be suppressed or excluded from the case against him.

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February 3, 2011

Boston Man Arrested on Assault Charges After Snow Shoveling Dispute


William Plaza, 38, of Hyde Park, was arrested on Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges after he allegedly threatened another man with a knife following an argument over where to throw the snow he was shoveling in Boston's Back Bay.

Plaza was arrested and charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon after he allegedly threatened the other person with two knives. Although the argument initially began as verbal, it escalated when Plaza allegedly threw snow onto the other man. Thereafter, Plaza went inside one of the apartments and allegedly returned with two knives and stated "someone's going to get stabbed."

Boston Police Officers responded to the area and Plaza was arrested behind the building while sitting in his car.

Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years, or to state prison for up to 5 years.

In order to prove that an Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon occurred, the evidence must show that the defendant intended the Assault with a dangerous weapon, meaning that he consciously and deliberately intended the assault to occur - in other words, that it was not accidental or negligent.

Massachusetts criminal law defines 'Assault' as either an attempt to commit a batter or offer by one person to do bodily injury to another by force and violence; or putting another in fear of immediate bodily injury.

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