Cop finds heroin paraphernalia in drug defendant's bedroom where crib for infant is located.
Jan 18, 2013 at 9:33 AM
A detective testified Thursday he found many pieces of heroin-related paraphernalia in a defendant's dresser when police used a search warrant at the Willard man's apartment.
David A. Dalton, 43, of 313A Woodland Ave., faces one count each of possession of heroin and possession of criminal tools, both in connection with a July 23 incident. His Huron County Common Pleas Court jury trial started Thursday.
Willard Police Detective Jeremy Draper was the first witness for Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper.
After Draper received a tip about suspected drug activity at Dalton's apartment, the detective said he "conducted surveillance of the area." He took photographs July 18 of the house from the CSX Railroad property.
Using a photo displayed to the jury, Draper identified Dalton as the male subject who was standing on the back porch and entering the door. The detective testified he contacted the owner of a trash company, determined the Dumpster behind the apartment serviced Dalton's residence and had the trash receptacle brought to the old fire station to inspect the contents.
"I removed one bag at a time ... and I dug through each bag individually," Draper said.
The detective said he found two bags in the Dumpster which contained suspected drug paraphernalia: A piece of tin foil which was burned on one side and alleged heroin-related "head lines" on the other plus some used cotton. Draper said he field-tested the cotton and found it was positive for heroin. He logged both items as evidence.
Draper and five other officers used a "knock and announce" search warrant at Dalton's apartment about 10:15 a.m. July 23.
"There was an infant, who was a couple weeks old at the oldest," said Draper, who also mentioned Dalton's wife, mother-in-law, an adult male and some teenagers were in the apartment.
The detective entered Dalton's bedroom, which included a crib. Draper testified he found a capped syringe, spoon, a cotton swab, an open knife, some "bloody tissues" and a magazine on top of a dresser. He said the top drawer held men's clothes, a bag of heroin spindles in a bag and a dinner plate with "powdered residue."
Draper explained to Kasper that drug addicts use magazine cut-outs as spindles to package heroin.
In court Thursday, the detective wore latex gloves as he took the magazine out of an evidence bag. Small clippings fell out as Draper handled the evidence.
When Draper said he found a counterfeit $20 bill without any water marks in another dresser, Kasper asked why he thought that might be drug-related.
"I believe someone made a transaction with it," Draper said.
Based on defense attorney Reese Wineman's objection, Judge Jim Conway instructed the jury to disregard Draper's comment.
In late September, Wineman filed a motion to suppress evidence. He argued that "other than a substantial amount of traffic going in and out of the defendant's apartment" and the items found in the Dumpster, Draper "clearly failed to establish there was probable cause that the defendant, on the date of the search, was engaged in criminal activity of any kind."
Also, Wineman argued police didn't see "any evidence of drug activity ... taking place" in Dalton's apartment and the reported traffic there "was not identified, in any way, as being related to drug activity."
Conway denied the motion in mid-November.
Testimony continues today.
Dalton is out on bond. If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 2 1/2 years in prison.