Matthew Tusi accepts sentence of 2 1/2 years to 5

LACONIA — A city man was sentenced to serve 2 1/2 years to five years in prison last week after pleading guilty to three counts of possession of narcotic drugs.

Matthew Tusi, 30, had been arrested on Aug. 7, 2013, after a Belknap County Sheriff's deputy stopped his vehicle on Union Avenue.

Tusi ran, was tasered, and later transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation. Laconia Police and an off-duty Gilford Police Officer participated in his arrest.

Before he went to trial, attorney Robert Hemeon had argued there was no probable cause for the sheriff's officer to stop Tusi as he had broken no traffic rules. Had he prevailed, all of the drug evidence later recovered from Tusi and his car would have been inadmissible.

After a suppression hearing in which the deputy testified, Judge James O'Neill ruled that the entire encounter he had with Tusi, including a conversation the two had while Tusi was dropping money off to someone at the Belknap County Jail, created enough probable cause to justify the stop.

With the drug evidence admissible at trial, Tusi chose to accept a plea bargain that will see him serve a minimum of 2 1/2 years in the State Prison.

O'Neill accepted Tusi's negotiated plea on Jan. 16. Tusi was given credit for 163 days served.