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Felony drug charges against pot grower could mean stiff sentence

Police in New Hampshire and in other states often use dogs to intercept mail that may be carrying drugs. That is how they arrested a 28-year-old man of Bedford recently on drug charges. The State Police Mobile Enforcement Team allegedly seized a suspicious package that was being sent to the suspect, after receiving a K-9-unit alert.

The New Hampshire State Police applied for a search warrant and opened the package, wherein they found what they say was a pound of marijuana. The police then allowed the delivery to go to the defendant. According to the police, that opened the way for them to apply for a second warrant, which they used to enter the man's home.

The NHSP allegedly found a marijuana growing operation and evidence of distribution of the drug. They charge that the value of the marijuana was $190,000. They charged him with possession with intent to deliver and with manufacturing of drugs, along with other felony charges.

If the initial mail seizure was legal, the defendant will likely have a tough time defending the charges. Generally, the procedure of using dogs in a public environment is allowed, with various limitations. One strategy that defense counsel may pursue here is to determine whether the man has evidence to share with the police. In any event, an early plea bargain may be the best strategy in a case where there is no constitutional infirmity.

Defense counsel may decide to argue generally for a common-sense approach to sentencing on these drug charges. The sentencing of marijuana violators to long prison sentences is becoming out-of-favor nationwide and in New Hampshire. Counsel can stress the need for defendant to have rehabilitation instead of incarceration. To sentence him to a long period of incarceration for a nonviolent crime seems contrary to new perspectives on the problem. This is especially true because of the distinction between pot and the opioids: marijuana does not result in overdoses or death, whereas the physical danger of opioids is well-documented.

Source: Bedford, N.H. Patch, "Bedford Man Busted with $190K Worth of Pot, MDMA: NHSP", Tony Schinella, June 10, 2016

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