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Defendant Challenges Territorial Jurisdiction


On this proceeding, the state presented evidence about a pharmacologist who was a member of a conspiracy to procure heroin. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the pharmacologist and his accomplices were guilty of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance based on a series of events that commenced in the state. Even if the jury found him guilty of both the crime, on appeal, he challenges the state’s exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the second offense only.

The evidence revealed that the leader of the conspiracy was a man. Through a wiretap surveillance of the telephone line to the leader’s residence, the law enforcement authorities discovered that the leader was raising $120,000 to pay a courier fee to obtain a large quantity of heroin to the state. The intercepted conversations cryptically identified the various players in the proposed drug exchange. The state theorized that the pharmacologist’s role in the project was to test the purity of the heroin.

The leader and another individual discussed the pharmacologist’s availability for the project. Upon receiving a telephone call advising that the pharmacologist had been located. Thereafter, a woman used the leader’s telephone to make airline reservations for three men to fly at 8:00 p.m. that evening and all of them were under the same surnames. The law enforcement authorities observed the pharmacologist together with two other men aboard the flight. At the request of an investigator, a state’s troop followed the activities of the three men. After registering at the airport’s hotel under aliases, they were seen entering and leaving each other’s rooms during the next 24 hours.

The leader called the other man, who was with the pharmacologist, to ask if they had made contact with the drug courier. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said when the man stated that the connection had not yet been accomplished, the leader asserted that he would page the individual himself and indicated he was bringing the courier fee that day.

Later that day, the leader arrived with a woman and met with the men at the hotel. Undercover officers saw the woman in the lobby restaurant during the time interval.

At 9:30 p.m., the leader paged a special agent, an undercover officer of the states drug enforcement agency, who was posing as the drug courier with whom the group was negotiating the drug exchange. The special agent returned the leader’s call using the telephone number displayed on his pager. During the conversation, the leader directed the special agent to contact the man at the hotel to arrange the sale. The special agent did as he was instructed and, in the course of his conversation with the man at the hotel, he agreed to call him in the morning to arrange the meeting. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said the man also expressed a need to change a hotel. Therefore, the following morning, two men and the pharmacologist checked out of the hotel and registered as guests at a nearby inn. The special agent and the man scheduled the exchange that day at the inn.

The enforcement officers recorded a telephone conversation via the wiretap of the leader’s residence at which a woman advised the leader of the time and location of the meeting. The leader directed the woman to call him after the exchange and indicated that all he needed to say was he was on his way home.

Less than an hour later, wearing a transmitting device, the special agent met the woman in the lobby of the inn and the two men proceeded to the woman’s room. Telling the special agent to wait for him, the woman went to the pharmacologist’s room, retrieved a green and red paper bag, and returned to the special agent to display the contents of the bag which was $120,000 in cash. The special agent then retrieved the drugs from a vehicle in the parking lot, returning immediately to the woman’s room where he exhibited several packages containing approximately 3.5 kilograms of heroin. The woman declared his intent to return home that night with the drug, hoping that he and the special agent could do a lot of dealing in the future. Indicating the drugs would be sold in the city directly to narcotics users, the woman suggested if he and his friends were in a position to buy as much heroin as the special agent’s contacts could supply.

The woman removed small samples of the drugs from each package and left with the money and the samples, claiming he would return after the purity of the drug had been tested. A few minutes later, the woman come back, visibly upset, announcing to the special agent that he had seen someone suspicious in the hotel stairwell. At trial, one of the plainclothes officers involved in the surveillance effort testified that he accidentally encountered the woman in the stairwell.

After receiving assurances from the special agent that he had not been accompanied by anyone, the woman again left his hotel room and went to the pharmacologist’s room, which was located on a different floor of the hotel. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said about 20 minutes later, the woman rejoined the special agent and terminated the deal on the basis that the heroin had been tested but was of insufficient purity. He referred to two tests that had been performed, an acid and a burn or temperature test, claiming the narcotic had failed both. Although the transaction was cancelled, the woman told the special agent he would call him later that evening.

Soon thereafter, the pharmacologist, a man and the woman checked out of the hotel and boarded a courtesy van destined for the airport. When they alighted at an airport terminal, they were arrested. The pharmacologist was carrying $80,000 in cash, the man and the woman had $20,000 each. In addition, the man was found in possession of an electric burner, coffee pot, thermometer, copper wire and other materials that could be used to test the purity of heroin. Two containers of mineral oil of a type that could be used for the drug testing were found in the hotel room vacated by the pharmacologist.

The criminal proceedings were commenced against the leader, the woman, the two men and the pharmacologist. Each of them pleaded guilty, but the pharmacologist proceeded to a jury trial. In addition to evidence of the events articulated, the state admitted portions of one of the man’s plea allocution in which he acknowledged that, had the events gone as planned, the heroin was to be transported to the city.

Based on records, under penal law, a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime when, with intent to commit a crime, he or she engages in conduct which tends to effect the commission of such crime. A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses four or more ounces of a narcotic drug.

The pharmacologist’s remaining argument, that reversal is warranted due to the submission of a written decision sheet which mirrored the legal text of the state’s jurisdictional theories, is not properly for the court’s review. Although the pharmacologist objected to the trial court’s failure to include in the decision sheet an additional jurisdictional theory not offered by the state. Consequently, the court ordered to affirm the appellate division decision.

Securing our family against crime is not only one of the hardest but also one of the most important jobs to do nowadays. We need to protect them from the wrong influence of friends and from people who act negligently because of drug use. If an unfortunate thing occurs such as your child getting involved in a drug activity or crime, you can ask assistance from the NYC Drug Crime Attorney or NY Heroin Lawyers. Stephen Bilkis and Associates also offer the services of New York City Criminal Lawyer for your heroin related legal disputes.

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