Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Drugs, Possess to Distribute Class D, Possess to Distribute Class C) Arrest

On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 8:57 P.M., Somerville Police control received a 9-1-1 call that was transferred from Cambridge Police. The callers were two identifiable witnesses who observed a black BMW bearing Maine license plate XXXX drive erratically on Elm Street near the Somerville-Cambridge line.

The callers informed Somerville Police Control that the car was weaving in and out of traffic and was traveling in the opposite lane when it nearly collided with their vehicle. “He is all over the road, swerving, it’s like he is on drugs,” the female caller said. While keeping a safe distance from the BMW, the callers gave Somerville Police the direction of travel and remained on the line until they saw a marked Somerville Police cruiser behind the BMW.

I was parked on Broadway near Holland Street, when I observed a black BMW with Maine registration XXXX turn right from Holland Street onto Broadway. The operator of the BMW crossed over the double yellow line twice and was trying to pass vehicles stopped at a red light.

I activated my emergency equipment and stopped the vehicle on Broadway and Packard Ave. Officer Torres and Lorenti arrived on the scene shortly after. I approached the operator and requested his license and registration and advised him of the reason for the stop. The operator later identified as Zach SAKURAI looked in the center console, and glove compartment but was unable to produce the documents I requested.

While talking to the operator, I detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana and in plain view saw a green leafy substance in the cup holder and on the front passenger seat. I asked the operator to step out of the vehicle to perform roadside assessments to which he agreed. I asked the operator if he knew where he was and he replied Cambridge or Somerville. I asked the operator where he was going and he stated he was visiting a student at Tufts University.

I asked the operator if he wears glasses and he stated sometimes to read. The operator stated he was not diabetic and does not take prescription medications. The operator denied having any medical conditions that affect his balance. He stated he twisted his ankle on Tuesday 09/27/2022 but it should not affect his ability to perform the assessments. I asked the operator if he consumed drugs and he stated he did not. I asked him if smoked marijuana or ingested anything other than food and he replied “I smoked weed a few hours ago and ate Gummies” The operator added marijuana was legal in Massachusetts. While talking to the operator, I noticed he was confused, sweating, twitching, and unable to stand still. I asked him several times to stop moving around and he replied: “I’m Italian, that’s how I talk.”

I turned the blue lights off, and administered the assessments on the side of the road, on a well-lighted, flat, non-slippery surface.

HGN: During this test, I observed NO lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes, NO distinct and sustained nystagmus in both eyes, and I observed NO Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both eyes.
VGN: Vertical gaze nystagmus was not present.

Lack of Convergence:
The operator’s left eye did not converge. This assessment was repeated twice and the operator’s left did not converge.

Walk and Turn
I explained, demonstrated, and administered the Walk and Turn assessment to the operator. I instructed the operator to place his left foot on the line and put his right foot in front of it, with his right heel touching his left toe and keep his hands by his side, then take nine heel-to-toe steps on the line, turn around keeping one foot on the line, and return nine heel-to-toe steps.

During the instructional phase, the operator lost his balance seven times. He took 12 steps, raised his arms to maintain balance, missed heel-to-toe in three steps, stepped off the line, and made an improper turn. He then took 12 steps back, missed heel-to-toe, and raised his arms to maintain balance.

One Leg Stand: I instructed the operator to stand with his heels together and arms by his side, and raise one leg approximately six inches off the ground, foot parallel to the ground, keep both legs straight and keep eyes on the elevated foot, and while holding that position to count out loud; one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, and so forth until told to stop.

While standing on his left foot, the operator raised his right foot for six seconds and put it down, he swayed, hopped, and raised his arms for balance. He raised his right foot again for 18 seconds and lost his balance and almost fell. This assessment was terminated for safety reasons.

Modified Rhomberg Balance
During the assessment, I asked the operator to estimate the passage of 30 seconds. I used my phone as a stopwatch to keep track of time. After 21 seconds had elapsed, the operator indicated he was done. I asked him how much time had elapsed, and he stated 30 seconds. I asked how did he estimate the 30 seconds and he started laughing and stated I counted until 30.

Based on my observations, I placed SAKURAI under arrest for OUI DRUGS (Stimulants and Cannabis). He was transported to the Somerville Police Headquarters via unit 200, operated by Officer Ducasse, and booked by Lieutenant Capasso.

During the inventory process, Officer Torres located 30 packages (300mg) each labeled “Ice Cubes Infused Gummies” in the rear passenger seat and an open container of green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana in the front passenger seat, and a bag containing a small amount of mushrooms, Cannabis wax and a scale. Officer Torres also located a rolled-up dollar bill, which contained white powdery substance residue. The $1 bill along with a $23 that was in the back seat was confiscated.

In the trunk of the vehicle, I located a large box containing 12 large plastic bags of a green leafy substance and a box containing 1000 vape cartridges capable of holding Cannabis oil, and 25 cartridges each containing 0.5 ml of Cannabis oil.

At the station, Detective Cicerone weighed the bags and informed me that each bag contained 1 pound of a different type of Marijuana.
3 bags, 1 lb each labeled “Baklava”
3 bags, 1 lb each labeled “Gelato 41”
2 bags, 1 lb each labeled “Cement shoes”
2 bags, 1 lb each labeled “Poundcake”
2 bags, 1 lb each labeled “Motorhead”

During the booking process, the defendant told Lieutenant Capasso that he owns and operates a marijuana dispensary.

I requested a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to evaluate the defendant. Officer Nicholas Clemente of Medford Police responded to the station and spoke with the defendant. The defendant refused to be evaluated. The defendant was transported to the Medford Police station by Officer Ducasse where a breath test was administered. The defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.00%

All drugs and drug paraphernalia were confiscated and placed into evidence.

Respectfully,

Officer Samir Messaoudi #312
Somerville Police Dept.

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