There’s a lot going on in legal news on this unusually freezing cold, arctic-air-blasted last day of February 2014, but I thought I’d drop a note for those who think they can outwit law enforcement and legal system when it comes to creative ways of hiding or destroying evidence.
Those who know me know that I don’t like scatological or bathroom humor. Try to crack a gross-out, lip-curling kind of bathroom joke with me, and you’ll either get the cold shoulder or a cold stare. But here’s a story that’s no joke: It seems that detectives from the Canton, Massachusetts Police Department, who are just down the road from my town of Westwood, Massachusetts, had an unusual assignment recently when it came down to preserving evidence in the arrest of a Massachusetts drug suspect. Detectives from that Department were on undercover patrol recently, when they moved in to arrest a suspected drug dealer in that town. Just before the cops got to him, they claim the suspect, one Julio Angel Rivera, 45, of Roxbury, began rapidly swallowing small plastic bags of a white substance they believed was cocaine. Seems Mr. Rivera thought he could put all the evidence out of sight, so to speak, thinking that if it were out of sight, there’s no evidence to charge him with any crime.
Except Mr. Rivera didn’t stop to think that what you swallow, doesn’t usually stay out of sight forever. So the suspect, because what he was suspected to have swallowed would be lethal to him, was transported to Norwood Hospital, where he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit, until police recovered the evidence “after its journey through the digestive process.” Rivera was reportedly then arraigned bedside in the hospital, on Massachusetts drug charges of with intent to distribute a class B narcotic. If you want to read more about this story, click here to see Fox 25 Boston report.
As a Dedham, Massachusetts drug charges lawyer, I’ve seen my share of creative attempts to hide evidence – and in fact, I’ve seen this “swallow the evidence” tactic on more than one occasion. But swallowing the stuff right in front of police is really the stuff of a “Dumbest Criminals” crime show. …Wait a second: Maybe I’ve stumbled on a good idea for a new career in legal news reporting.