Heard: May 17, 2016.
received and sworn to in the Lawrence Division of the
District Court Department on May 16, 2014.
cases were tried before Mark A. Sullivan, J.
K. Sherwood for Carlos Rosario.
Stephen E. Meltzer for Lylibeth Rosario.
Quentin Weld, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Cypher, Blake, & Henry, JJ.
consolidated appeal, the defendants, Carlos Rosario and
Lylibeth Rosario, appeal from their convictions for
distribution of heroin in violation of G. L. c. 94C, §
32 (a.), and a drug violation near a school or park in
violation of G. L. c. 94C, § 32J. In addition,
Carlos was charged with possession of heroin in
violation of G. L. c. 94C, § 34. The defendants filed a
motion in limine to exclude any in-court identification of
the defendants, which was denied. They argue that the trial
judge committed error by admitting the confidential
informant's in-court identification in the absence of any
pretrial identification procedure. They also argue that the
chain of custody was inadequate to connect the drug evidence
presented at trial to this case and, therefore, the evidence
was insufficient to prove the drug charges beyond a
reasonable doubt. Lylibeth also argues that she was not given
pretrial notice of a map offered by the Commonwealth and
admitted in evidence that supported the school zone charge.
We affirm both defendants' convictions.
15, 2014, the Lawrence police department's drug
enforcement unit (unit) was conducting supervised controlled
buys with the assistance of a paid confidential informant
named William Demers. Detective Carmen Purpora searched
Demers and the female who accompanied him for money and
contraband before each controlled buy and then gave Demers
marked currency to complete the drug transactions. Detective
Purpora and Demers agreed that Demers would take off his hat
and place it by his side to signal that a drug transaction
had taken place.
morning, Demers and the unit completed two controlled buys
between 9:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. At around 1:00 P.M., Demers
and his female companion drove to the corner of Water and
Melrose Streets in Lawrence to conduct another controlled
buy. Demers, who was under surveillance by the unit, exited
his car and stood beside it for about ten minutes before he
was approached by Carlos. Carlos initiated the drug
transaction and asked Demers to follow him to a house across
the street at 129 Water Street. Detective Purpora and Demers
saw a woman standing outside the house who was later
identified as Lylibeth, Carlos's mother. Carlos,
Lylibeth, and Demers walked inside the house to the kitchen
where Carlos asked Lylibeth to give Demers the drugs.
Lylibeth left the room and returned a minute later with a
scale and a bag of heroin. Demers gave twenty dollars to
Carlos for the bag of heroin then left. Demers was in the
house for approximately three to four minutes. After leaving
the house, Demers signaled to the unit that a drug
transaction had occurred.
the controlled buy, Demers drove to a prearranged location
where Demers, the woman accompanying him, and his vehicle
were all searched. At that time, Demers handed Detective
Purpora a plastic bag containing a brown substance that the
detective believed was heroin. Detective Purpora radioed
other officers and told them to place the defendants in
custody. When Carlos was placed in custody, the police found
two additional plastic bags containing brown powder in his
that day, Detective Purpora brought the three plastic bags of
brown powder to the Lawrence police department. There, he
logged the narcotics on an evidence sheet, placed the
narcotics into a heat sealed bag, put the sealed bag into a
yellow manila envelope, and placed that envelope into an
evidence locker. At trial, Detective Purpora testified that
the manila envelope was labeled with the log number referring
to the case, 14-003794, the ...