Burke Levy, P.C.

Search warrant for drug crimes will issue upon probable cause

The police in Massachusetts must have probable cause to obtain a search warrant to search for drugs in someone's residence. The main investigating officer will usually fill out an affidavit of probable cause that is submitted to the court along with the request for the warrant. The allegations in the affidavit must show that there is some credible evidence indicating that drug crimes or other crimes are being committed. The affidavit must not rest on anonymous tips or unreliable sources.

Recently, the Worcester police secured a search warrant for a Main Street apartment, and after executing it, they arrested the occupant along with at least six other men. Two of those were followed in a car that went to a McDonald's parking lot where the police approached the vehicle. Authorities allege that they observed one of the occupants attempting to put something in the center console of the car.

They say that they removed the men from the car and searched the console, where they allegedly found several bags of crack cocaine and heroin. They placed those men under arrest. Police also then executed the warrant at the subject premises where they found more bags of crack cocaine and heroin. They charged the men with possession with intent to distribute the drugs.

Criminal defense counsel will evaluate the search warrant application for errors and assure that the allegations of drug crimes rise to the level of probable cause under Massachusetts precedent. Speculation is not sufficient to issue a search warrant. In the case of the two men followed to the parking lot, it is questionable whether police had reasonable cause to seize the men, remove them from the car and search the car, based on observing one of them putting some undescribed item in a console. The police seem to have mistakenly believed that their search warrant applied also to the car. A motion to suppress the evidence may be filed if the circumstances indicate unconstitutional police actions in any of the arrests.

Source: golocalworcester.com, "7 People Arrested Inside Worcester Apartment for Drug Possession", March 14, 2018

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