In April of 2018, forty five people were charged in a fentanyl-trafficking ring in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, marking it the largest fentanyl bust in New Hampshire history. Paul Aaron was one of those people. When Aaron was arrested, officers seized a kilogram of fentanyl and a bulletproof vest. After his arrest, a search warrant was issued for his house. During that search, another kilogram of fentanyl was found, along with money and guns.
A New Hampshire State Trooper who participated in the arrest wrote in his report that Aaron was given a shopping bag during a drug deal, which prompted their decision to arrest him. The Trooper further wrote that when he tried to stop Aaron, he tried to flee into his apartment and the Trooper had to tackle him to place him under arrest. Several Lowell, MA police detectives wrote similar statements in reports and in the affidavit in support of the application for a search warrant on Aaron’s apartment.
Yet during a hearing on a motion to suppress in federal court, defense counsel played video surveillance which directly contradicted the Trooper’s and detectives’ accounts. The video showed that Aaron had the shopping bag all along and was not given it during a drug deal. The video further showed that Aaron did not attempt to flee or resist after the Trooper tried to stop him. Due to these glaring inconsistencies, the court suppressed all of the evidence seized during Aaron’s arrest. Since those inconsistencies also contributed to the granting of the search warrant, the judge suppressed all of the evidence found in Aaron’s apartment as well. In total, this misconduct resulted in the suppression of 2 kilograms of fentanyl, firearms, and other evidence.
That was only the beginning of the fallout. The Lowell Police Department conducted an internal investigation which resulted in disciplinary action against three detectives, a Lieutenant, and a Sergeant. During the pendency of that investigation, several detectives were not allowed to testify in court, resulting in at least fifteen cases being dismissed.
This scandal highlights the importance of having a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side to investigate your case. Had Aaron’s case not been adequately investigated, the evidence would never have been suppressed, and the Lowell cases would have continued to be prosecuted. Just like any other witness, sometimes the police take liberties with the facts in order to make charges stick. Aggressive investigation is required to expose these unlawful practices.
Hedges & Tumposky, LLP is highly experienced in investigating and defending a wide variety of criminal cases. We are no stranger to investigating the police. When we discover police misconduct, we have the experience and dedication to use it to our client’s benefit in a criminal trial and then file suit and litigate vigorously in a civil proceeding. Whether you have been charged with a crime, and/or believe you may be a victim of police misconduct, call Hedges & Tumposky, LLP today for a free consultation.