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Compton, Possession of a Controlled Substance, No File

Our client, age 31, was a truck driver who would frequently be dispatched to one of dozens of warehouses in the Harbor Gateway, Wilmington, Torrance, Gardena and Carson area to pick up a load and transport it to another city sometimes even outside California.

With COVID-19 delaying ship deliveries and affecting what was produced worldwide, truckers found themselves scrambling for work and dispatched for jobs that turned out to be less product to move.
On one afternoon in the early summer of 2022, our client was dispatched to a loading dock outside a warehouse in the Carson area.  He was told to arrive at a specific time and, as was his custom, he arrived about twenty minutes before the scheduled time. 

He consequently parked his truck nearby and kept it idling.  A representative of the loading dock walked out to speak with our client and, apologizing, tell him there was a delay.  The representative went to the passenger side door, climbed up the cab, opened the passenger door and leaned in to speak with our client.

A Compton police officer was driving by at the time and observed the loading dock representative do this.  The police office suspected that what had just happened was a sale and purchase of drugs.  The officer also may have regarded our client as suspicious because he was waiting so long in the same location, rather than waiting a few minutes before being brought into the loading dock area.

The police officer then approached our client and asked him what he was doing.  Our client explained that he was waiting for the warehouse to tell him to enter the property and go to a specific loading dock.  Our client, who was a U.S. citizen but had a very thick accent (he was born in Serbia), could tell the officer did not believe our client.

The officer then asked to search the interior of the truck cab.  Our client agreed and exited the cab to let the officer look around.

After less than a minute, the officer excitedly said, “I knew it, I knew it” and exited the cab, holding a baggie with a white powdery substance.  Our client immediately said, “that was not in my truck – you put it there” and accused the officer of pulling the baggie our of his own pocket.

The officer told our client, “This looks like meth” and asked our client to admit to having it in his truck because “we can do things the easy way or the hard way,” as if trying to intimidate our client, who the officer may have assumed was not a U.S. citizen and who might offer the officer a bribe to leave.

Our client told the officer he would not admit to having the baggie, repeating that the officer pulled it from his pocket.

The officer then responded by arresting our client and taking him to the Compton Sheriff’s Station just 100 feet from the Compton Courthouse.  The client then obviously lost the job he had waited patiently for and the client’s semi-trailer and rig were towed to an impound lot.

Our client was booked for possession of a controlled substance (other than marijuana or methamphetamine), a violation of Health and Safety Code § 11350, and released after signing a promise to appear in the Compton Courthouse in about two months.

The client called Greg Hill & Associates about a week later and, speaking with Greg Hill, described what had happened to him.  Greg commented that the white powdery substance would be tested for the presence of a controlled substance if the officer was audacious enough to carry a controlled substance with him for such types of searches.  Otherwise, the substance may have been baking soda, sugar or flour.

Nonetheless, Greg was concerned with how the case would proceed and recommended, in an abundance of caution, that the client attend ten Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings even though the client was not a drug user and did not even drink alcohol.  The client understood that attending such classes would not be regarded by the prosecution or the judge as an admission to having a drug abuse problem.  The client then did so and provided Greg documentary proof of attending such classes.

Greg explained that if the case were filed, it was likely to be resolved with judicial diversion or DA diversion, which Greg explained to the client.

Greg then appeared for the client’s arraignment at the Compton Courthouse (the client was working) and happily was advised that the case was a DA reject. 

The client apparently was correct that the police officer planted the baggie and did so with goal of eliciting a cash payment to “go away” or an admission by our client to having the drugs, both reactions that our client refused to commit.

For more information about drug offenses, please click on the following articles:
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