[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

'Git-R-Done': Trump opens 1.4 million federal acres to hunters, anglers

Trump fills the Pentagon swamp

Why Avoiding the Cult of Personality Is Important

Bret Stephens, Warmonger

The War Hoax Redux

The Deep State Killed Michael Hastings 6 Years Ago

Floridians Are Suing A Cop Fired For Planting Drugs In Their Vehicles

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is voted best real-life hero by MTV viewers ahead of Serena Williams

Cop Kills Unarmed, Non-verbal Disabled Man in Costco, Shoots His Parents Too

Cops Open Fire with Pepper Spray Guns on Children at End of School Skate Party

Appeals Court To Cops: There's Nothing Inherently Suspicious About Running From The Police

Route 91 massacre survivor, avid hunter, tells FBI “.50 caliber rifle” was likely used in attack after witnessing “large holes” being “blown through” victims bodies

Pastor Jailed During ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’, SWAT Team Snipers Positioned Atop Library Roof

Watching is “Obstructing”

Trump ‘thinks he knows’ who was behind 9/11

*Welcome to Dog Paradise *

America Last: The Real Meaning of the Donald's Deplorable Aggression Against Iran

Shocking Video of Phoenix Cops Holding Black Family at Gunpoint Over $1 Doll

The Trump Administration Is Becoming Strangely Anti-Gun

Classic Cars and Classic Owners

1957-1959 Plymouth Fury - Best Plymouth Ever?

The In-Car Checkpoint

Stop Treating Government With Respect

Pepe the Frog's creator wins a $15,000 copyright settlement against InfoWars

African migrants pass through San Antonio and swiftly fan out across the country

Alex Jones losing credibility more rapidly than ever by continuing to shill for Trump, and now pushing for war with Iran on his radio show

Tennessee Cop Calls for Execution of Gay People Photographed at Pride Events

The Music Industry is Fake! Here's the Evidence

Fascist You Tube still purging conservative channels; tries to purge 'Black Pigeon Speaks' conservative-truth channel for no reason -- then must eat crow after yuge blacklash-support, reinstatement!

Why Gillibrand Is the Most Vapid Clown in the Car

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Rock This Cover

Dire Straits’ Breakthrough Debut Album @41

DHS Frees 8.5K Illegal Aliens in Eight Days; 204.5K Released in Half a Year

Veterans Who Work In the Legal Cannabis Industry Are Being Denied Benefits

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: White House press secretary to resign

Hydrogen station explodes, Toyota halts sales of fuel cell cars, is this the end?

Federal watchdog recommends Kellyanne Conway be given the axe for Hatch Act violations

Why Kids Still Need Analog Clocks

A new moon race is on. Is China already ahead?

Mom who chose CBD to treat her daugher after chemo didn't work being chased by the State.

Asset Forfeiture Funding Has Little Impact on Solving Crimes, Says New Study

Jury Refuses to Convict Scott Warren for Showing Kindness to Immigrants

Pediatrician on How Transgender Propaganda Harms Children

Masterpiece Cakeshop Was Just Sued For ‘Discrimination’ For A THIRD Time

Millennial Dads Vs. Baby Boomer Dads: Millennials’ DIY Skills Are “Pathetic” By Comparison

The Number One Reason Adults Are Interested In Legalized Cannabis

Amazon, Law Enforcement Joining Forces To Turn Your Front Door Into An Integral Part Of The Surveillance State

Instead of Ticketing Elderly Woman for Tall Grass, This Cop Mowed it For Her

Former Senator Murdered in Her Home After Reportedly Uncovering Gov’t Child Trafficking Ring

You Can Get 5 Years in Prison for Selling Llama Poop, and Other Ludicrous Laws


Status: Not Logged In; Sign In

United States News
See other United States News Articles

Title: https://theappeal.org/state-trooper-said-man-took-bag-from-fentanyl-supplier-but-video-demonstrated-that-the-deal-never-went-down/
Source: The Appeal
URL Source: https://theappeal.org/state-trooper ... that-the-deal-never-went-down/
Published: May 20, 2019
Author: Zachary A. Siegel
Post Date: 2019-05-23 07:25:28 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 61

Trooper testimony inconsistent with video and misconduct among state and local law enforcement in New Hampshire and Massachusetts have caused at least 15 drug cases to unravel.

On the night of March 7, 2018, Francisco Vicente trailed Paul Aaron on the snowy streets of Lowell, Massachusetts, as Aaron approached a taxi driven by a suspected fentanyl supplier being tracked by a Drug Enforcement Administration task force. Vicente, a New Hampshire state trooper, later said that Aaron, now 32, walked away from the taxi carrying a Puma shopping bag that he suspected contained drugs. When Vicente tried to stop Aaron to question him about the bag, he claimed that Aaron tried to run into his apartment, leading Vicente to tackle Aaron and place him under arrest. Law enforcement seized a bulletproof vest that Aaron was wearing and a kilogram of powder suspected to be illicit fentanyl; cash, another kilogram of fentanyl powder, and firearms were later found in his apartment.

About one month later, Aaron and 44 others were indicted in what federal prosecutors said was a sprawling illicit fentanyl trafficking ring that spanned Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire involved over 100 officers from multiple state and local law enforcement agencies including the Massachusetts State Police, the Lowell Police Department, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office and the Essex County district attorney’s office.

It was hailed as the largest fentanyl bust in New Hampshire history. In 2017, there were 424 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in New Hampshire, which ranks among the top five states with the highest rate of opioid-involved deaths, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Disrupting the supply of illicit fentanyl has become a top priority for federal prosecutors.

A successful motion to suppress

After Vicente testified in federal court on Oct. 9 about Aaron’s bust, defense attorney David Bownes played video surveillance from a nearby store showing his client carrying the shopping bag before he approached the suspected supplier. The video also showed that when Vicente approached Aaron, he did not resist or try to flee into his apartment building, which was farther away from the scene of the arrest than Vicente’s testimony suggested. The footage directly contradicted Vicente’s testimony as well as sworn statements made by Lowell police detectives and a report and search warrant affidavit prepared by detectives from its Special Investigations Section (SIS).

On Aug. 22, Bownes filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained from Aaron’s March arrest and the search of his home in Lowell, a town near the New Hampshire border. On Sept. 13, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Hampshire, Scott W. Murray, filed an objection to the motion, arguing that Lowell detectives had not tainted the search warrant affidavit for Aaron’s apartment.

But after the October hearing where Bownes presented the contradictory video, Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Aframe agreed to withdraw the government’s objection. “At this point the government is prepared to withdraw its objection and assent to the motion to suppress insofar as it seeks to suppress all of the evidence seized from 193 East Merrimack Street, Apartment 5, pursuant to the search warrant,” Aframe said during the hearing.

Bownes declined to comment about his client’s case. The Lowell Police Department did not respond to requests for comment from The Appeal.

“At times there can be a concerning tendency by prosecutors to become too invested in a case and they do not keep important distance from it,” Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, an organization that focuses on newly elected prosecutors, told The Appeal. “Past exonerations reveal confirmation bias, where members of the justice system—prosecutors and officers alike—tend to put blinders on and don’t pay attention to evidence or inconsistencies that cast doubt on somebody’s guilt.”  

Drug cases come apart

The Middlesex County district attorney has dismissed at least 15 drug and gun cases since January, after the Lowell police’s internal investigation of SIS found detectives filed sworn affidavits littered with false and misleading information. Three detectives from the investigation unit—Nicholas Dokos, Rafael Rivera, and David Lavoie—were put on paid administrative leave as a result of their wrongdoing, which includes providing false information on records and sworn affidavits, as well as “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” All three detectives are back on active duty.

In March, Aaron entered a guilty plea to federal drug conspiracy charges, though the two kilograms of fentanyl, bulletproof vest, and guns found in his March 2018 arrest were not included in his plea. Also in March, a separate drug case against Aaron brought by the Middlesex DA was dropped because of “potential inconsistencies in the evidence” stemming from misconduct by detectives.

The investigation into SIS found further inconsistencies and falsehoods in its detectives’ accounts of Aaron’s arrest. And the police report and search warrant stemming from Aaron’s arrest were “inaccurate to a level that is far beyond simple mistakes,” according to the investigation report, which was obtained by the Lowell Sun. The investigation ultimately led to the disciplining of five officers: three SIS detectives, a lieutenant, and a sergeant.

A troubled police unit

Keren Goldenberg, a criminal defense attorney in Lowell, says this isn’t the first time that SIS, which she described as a vice squad, has “cut corners.” “There is a history of pretty reckless behavior by the SIS unit,” Goldenberg told The Appeal. “They’re kind of an ‘ends justify the means’ group. They’re aggressive. They arrest a lot of people. Some people think very highly of it. But I’ve also found that they cut corners when they need to and probably feel quite justified.”

Goldenberg cited the case of SIS detective Thomas Lafferty, a defendant in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by three men who said he failed to properly screen and supervise confidential informants who may have planted drug evidence. The lawsuit alleged a “systematic failure to document the use of confidential informants, systematic failure to vet confidential informants, and systematically inattentive supervision of officers using confidential informants.”

According to the lawsuit, one SIS informant identified only as “FA” had “arranged for misinformation to be supplied to police” and was so unreliable that a Lowell prosecutor would not work with him. In October 2017, the City of Lowell settled the lawsuit for $750,000. Lafferty is no longer with SIS—he worked in the unit from 2005 to 2013—but he remains employed with the Lowell Police, though he has been demoted to a patrol officer. In 2011, Lafferty was placed on leave after he and Rafael Rivera, one of the SIS detectives from the Aaron case, shot at a vehicle that was fleeing the scene of a drug bust. Goldenberg says such misconduct is emblematic of a troubled culture within SIS.

Goldenberg is currently seeking to have a gun case against one of her clients dropped because the names of the disciplined SIS detectives appear on arrest affidavits and other records. “They showed such outrageous conduct in the Paul Aaron case that I’m trying to either get my case dismissed or have the judge suppress the evidence because the affiants and officers involved have demonstrated they have a disregard for the truth and a history of lying to the courts,” Goldenberg said.

When police misconduct is revealed in court, prosecutors find themselves in an ethical and legal bind. “There have been documented instances of situations where officer misconduct has occurred and a miscarriage of justice results,” Krinsky of Fair and Just Prosecution says. “Prosecutors have an important and unique obligation when that happens to make sure that they stand for the pursuit of justice under all circumstances, and if a wrong has been done, to go back and correct that.”

Post Comment   Private Reply   Ignore Thread  


[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

Please report web page problems, questions and comments to webmaster@libertysflame.com