The fate of an accused drug dealer who was allegedly nabbed with about $35,000 worth of crack cocaine and a concealed handgun hinges on a judge’s decision about whether his constitutional rights were violated.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast is expected to make a ruling today if Samir Mohamed’s rights were violated when he was arrested and charged following a routine traffic stop on Feb. 11, 2009, in Sylvan Lake.
Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis and defence lawyers Aleksandra Simic and Shawn Beaver entered into a voir dire to determine if during the arrest the accused was properly read his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Since Bast is judging the case alone, there is no ban on voir dire information, as would be the case in a jury trial.
Mohamed faces 10 charges, including two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of the proceeds of crime, three counts of possession of unauthorized weapons and three other weapons offences.
Mohamed, 22, was charged with the traffic violation by RCMP Const. Sabrina Caterini about 1:50 p.m. when she saw the accused make an illegal U-turn.
Caterini said she noticed Mohamed leaning over into the front passenger seat rummaging around when she stopped directly behind him.
She testified he was “sweating profusely” and looking away from her when answering questions about his driver documents.
Caterini said she noticed a “very strong skunky odour” of fresh marijuana coming from the vehicle.
She asked the accused if he had marijuana and he replied no.
Caterini then asked Mohamed to step out of the car.
He then handed her a cigar package with a marijuana cigarette in it.
The officer then said she arrested Mohamed for possession of a narcotic.
When searching him later at her cruiser, he produced a small bag of about seven grams of marijuana from his sock.
After searching his jacket, she found 25 pieces of crack cocaine. She then charged him with drug trafficking. She also found $330 in cash neatly folded, which indicated to her she had a possible drug dealer.
A search of the vehicle uncovered 325 grams of crack cocaine, worth an estimated $30,000 to $35,000 if sold in small quantities on the street, and a .22-calibre loaded handgun and extra ammunition.
The drugs and gun were found in a small, unlocked cloth satchel in the front seat.
Simic grilled Caterini on when exactly did she arrest, charge and read the accused his rights.
Caterini said she had Mohamed step out of the car to see if the marijuana smell was coming from him or in the vehicle.
The trial continues.