On July 6, 2018, I, Sergeant Michael Capasso, was on duty for the Somerville Police assigned to the Gang Unit. I, along with Detective Mark Pulli and Detective Rob Pasqualino were operating an unmarked cruiser conducting “hot spot” directed patrols in conjunction with the Shannon Community Safety Initiative, aimed at suppressing youth violence and gang activity. At 10:42PM, while conducting a directed patrol in the area of Mt. Vernon Street, I observed a male operating a gray Acura (Ma registration xxxx), who appeared to be texting while driving. As a result of this infraction, I conducted a motor vehicle stop at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Street and Perkins Street, both public ways within the City of Somerville.
As I approached the operator, I could smell a moderate odor of unburnt marijuana emanating from the interior of the vehicle. I noticed him to be holding on to one cell phone, with a second cell phone resting on the center console next to a small stack of cash. I advised the operator, identified as Mr. Steven Guevara, of the reason of the stop. Mr. Guevara advised me that he was using the phone’s GPS so he could get to his friend’s house. I retrieved Mr. Guevara’s driver’s license and the vehicle’s registration for Detective Pulli to query via the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJISWEB). Detective Pulli advised me that Mr. Guevara’s license had a suspended status.
I informed Mr. Guevara of his license status, ordered him out of the vehicle, and requested that he sit on the sidewalk. I told Mr. Guevara that I could smell marijuana from inside the vehicle, and that he could be arrested for driving with a suspended license. Mr. Guevara stated that he only had a “dime” bag in the car, and that it was inside the center console.
Despite the fact Mr. Guevara stopped his vehicle in an awkward position (blocking the driveway to an apartment building on Perkins Street and partial lane on Perkins Street), I offered Mr. Guevara the ability to phone someone who may be close by to take possession of his vehicle rather than tow it. Mr. Guevara requested that he call his brother, and asked for his red cell phone from inside vehicle. Mr. Guevara was handed his phone, and I requested that his brother provide us with an estimated time of arrival, as we would not be able to leave the vehicle positioned the way it was for long. Mr. Guevara stated that his brother would need at least 20 minutes due to the fact he was coming from Jamaica Plain. I advised him that 20 minutes was too long, and requested Detective Pulli to begin inventorying the vehicle.
As I finished writing Mr. Guevara Massachusetts Uniform Citation # R8325928 for his motor vehicle offenses, Detective Pulli showed me a black Beats by Dre pouch. I could see that the pouch contained several plastic bags; some of which had cut / ripped corners, a digital scale, and a large bag containing a white powdered substance believed to be cocaine. I then asked Mr. Guevara where his friend lived that he was going to visit. Mr. Guevara stated, “xx Crescent Street.” I then asked what his friends name was, to which he replied, “XXXX.” I asked Mr. Guevara if XXXX was a close friend of his, and he stated “Yes.” When I asked Mr. Guevara what XXXX’s last name was, he stated that he “Didn’t know.” At this point, I approached Mr. Guevara, placed him in custody, and contacted Somerville Control for a tow and the transport wagon.
Based on my training and experience, I know that sandwich baggies with ripped/cut out corners are consistent with how drugs are generally packaged for sale and therefore show evidence of drug distribution. Drugs are commonly placed or poured into the sandwich bag which is then tipped so that the drugs inside flow to one corner. That corner of the bag is then twisted so that the plastic above the drugs spindles. This portion of the bag containing the drugs is then passed through a loop made by the spindle of plastic and pulled, forming a knot immediately above the drugs inside. The excess bag is then cut away. This process can be completed twice using the two bottom corners.
While awaiting the arrival of the transport wagon, Mr. Guevara told Detective Pasqualino that two additional bags of cocaine were located in his groin area. Detective Pulli retrieved the bags and secured them as evidence.
While at the Police Station, Detective Fernando Cicerone weighed the three bags, which had a preliminary weight of 20 grams, 3.5 grams, and 3 grams. Detective Cicerone field tested the white powdered substance which yielded a positive result for cocaine.
Based on the total weight of the cocaine, I am charging Mr. Guevara with the following:
1. Trafficking cocaine – 26.5 grams.
2. Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license.
3. Unsafe operation of a motor vehicle – texting while driving.
*Please refer to Detective Pulli and Detective Costa’s supplemental reports.
Sgt. Michael Capasso #285