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Massachusetts Court Approves Search Warrant in Drug Case Involving Confidential Informant

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Massachusetts drug case discussing whether the search warrant obtained by police was valid. The case involved the use of a confidential informant who did not know the defendant and did not ever mention to officers that the defendant was involved in the sale of narcotics. However, the court upheld the search that was conducted after officers obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s apartment through the officers’ independent investigation.

The Facts of the Case

Police received numerous tips that a man was selling narcotics out of a gold sedan. Several of the tips indicated that the sedan had a strap holding the vehicle’s truck in place. One of the tips came from a confidential informant who told officers that he had purchased narcotics from a man in a gold vehicle who was accompanied by a woman. Police went to the location provided by the tipsters and witnessed the subject of their investigation leave a residence and enter a gold sedan with a strap holding the trunk in place. A woman accompanied the subject.

Police ran the vehicle’s information, and it came back as registered to the defendant’s mother. Police also discovered that there had been a domestic disturbance call made about ten months prior by the defendant against the subject. Police began to believe that the defendant was the woman seen with the subject although they had no proof of that belief. Police officers conducted an investigation and obtained a phone number they believed to be the defendants. When police called as asked for the defendant by name, she replied “speaking.”

Police obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s home. The officers found narcotics and charged the defendant with possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute. The defendant filed a motion to suppress based on an insufficient search warrant. The trial court denied the motion. However, the intermediate appellate court reversed that ruling, suppressing the evidence seized from the defendant’s home. The Commonwealth appealed.

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision to grant the motion. The court explained that the warrant was supported by probable cause to believe that the defendant was involved in the sales of narcotics. The court relied on the information provided by the confidential informant, as well as the subsequent police investigation that corroborated the informant’s version of events.

The court acknowledged that the defendant was not ever identified as the woman with the subject of their investigation, but that the evidence was sufficient to establish probable cause that she was involved. The court also acknowledged that the defendant could have ended her relationship with the subject of the investigation after the domestic disturbance call was made, but held that it was reasonable for the trial court to consider the evidence as contributing towards the likelihood that the defendant was involved.

Have You Been Charged with a Massachusetts Drug Crime?

If you have recently been charged with a Massachusetts drug crime, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy. Attorney Murphy is a dedicated Boston criminal defense attorney with extensive experience helping his clients defend their freedom against a wide range of crimes, including Boston gun crimes, drug possession and sales. To learn more about how Attorney Murphy can assist you with your case, call 617-367-0450 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

The Issue of Race and Jury Selection in Massachusetts Criminal Trials, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published October 9, 2018

Appellate Court Affirms Violation of Defendant’s Probationary Sentence, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published October 27, 2018