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Traffic stop leads to drug charges for alleged heroin dealer

The New Hampshire State Police recently announced that they stopped and arrested an out-of-state drug dealer on Route 125. The 25-year-old man, reportedly from a neighboring state, was stopped by police on a purported traffic violation. Police say that they examined the man and the vehicle after he refused to identify himself, which ultimately led to drug charges relating to heroin.

It is alleged that the suspect also struggled with the state police officer when the officer tried to place him under arrest for disobeying a police officer. Police quickly subdued him and took him into custody. At that point, they searched the vehicle and allegedly found 100 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of $3,600.

The defendant is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. The charges are felony possession with intent to deliver heroin, resisting arrest, disobeying a police officer and driving with a suspended license. The original reason for the traffic stop has not been revealed. If the police did not stop the man due to a visible traffic violation, and instead were engaging in racial profiling or otherwise acting without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, then the evidence may be subject to suppression.

Defense counsel will try to answer that question as an initial subject of inquiry when meeting with the client. If the traffic stop was initially valid, then the ensuing events and the drug charges, if correctly reported by the press, were likely legal and supportable. The suspect would most likely not have a right to refuse to provide his identity, and that improper refusal would probably in itself establish reasonable grounds for the initial arrest, along with the ensuing search and the drug charges under New Hampshire and federal law. There may be just enough doubt surrounding the circumstances, however, to allow a seasoned defense counsel to negotiate significantly reduced charges and a plea bargain acceptable to the defendant.

Source: Salem, NH Patch, "Alleged Mass. Heroin Dealer Arrested on Route 125 in NH", Tony Schinella, Nov. 14, 2016

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