Judge tosses evidence in 2015 meth case


LACONIA — A Superior Court judge has thrown out the evidence the Belknap County Attorney's Office was depending on to convict a Lakeport man of possession with intent to sell nearly $44,000 of methamphetamine.

In a 17-page ruling issued late last week, Judge Peter Fauver determined that the police had already relinquished control of the car being driven by Peter Dauphin, 43, of Appleton Street before they searched it. The search led to the discovery of the methamphetamine as well as a confession.

"In the present case," wrote Fauver, there is no dispute that law enforcement had not taken physical custody of the Pontiac at the time Officer [Richard] Carlson conducted the inventory search."

Carlson and his training officer saw Dauphin drive from Clinton Street across Lakeport Square on to Elm Street at what they said was a higher rate of speed than was allowed. They followed him to the corner of Sheridan and Appleton Streets and pulled him over.

After realizing the license plates didn't not belong to Dauphin, the police decided to cited him for speeding and for misuse of plates, which required the plates come off of the car and that it be towed.

Dauphin, who lives about 200 feet from the traffic stop, asked police if he could have the car towed to his house. Police agreed and told him he could negotiate his own tow contract with tow company. While Dauphin was arranging the tow, police decided to conduct an "non-investigative" inventory search of the car but it was after he had arranged for his own tow.

During the search, police found methamphetamine under the front passenger seat. Dauphin was arrested and taken to the police station where he admitted he had more methamphetamine in his home. All totaled, Laconia Police found 8.3 ounces of methamphetamine and $11,000 cash in his home. Gilford Police found a small amount of heroin somewhere in his business in that community.

Fauver wrote that "the word 'impoundment' necessarily centers of the broader concept of 'possession': namely that law enforcement must take legal possession of the property in question."

Because Fauver determined the search of Dauphin car was unlawful, he suppressed all of the evidence in the case under the doctrine of "fruits of the poisonous tree," which means the statements he made to police and subsequent search warrants for his house and business came from an unlawfully searched vehicle.

Northfield Police raid nets $9K in drugs, cash and a rifle (202)

NORTHFIELD — A raid on a house on 146 Hodgdon Road Monday night led to the arrest of a local woman and the confiscation of about $9,000 in heroin and methamphetamine.

Police Chief John Raffaelly said he and six officers from Northfield and Tilton surrounded the home with an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Ashley Sargent.

Raffaelly said Sargent didn't open the door initially so police broke it down and found her and her boyfriend inside. He said the unidentified man was temporarily detained and later released while Sargent was charged with one count of possession of controlled drugs and one count of possession of controlled drugs with the intent to sell them.

Police said they found 55 grams of suspected heroin and 23 grams of suspected methamphetamine in a safe. Raffaelly said they found packaging material, a loaded rifle, and various needles and other drug paraphernalia in the home.
Police found $700 in cash.

She faces an additional charge of receiving stolen property for having a Polaris ATV that had been reported stolen from Groton and some stolen electronics from area retailers.

Sargent was held of $1,000 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance bail. He posted bail and has a court date of May 3 in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division.

Man accused in heroin death of Tilton man has new bail hearing


LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge will decide in the near future if a Northfield man accused of selling a 21-year-old Tilton man the heroin/fentanyl that killed him will be released on some kind of cash bail.
Brian Watson, 51, was released after posting $25,000 cash bail after being charged in connection to the death of Seth Tilton-Fogg in late April of 2015. One of the conditions of his release was that he have no contact with Teanna Bryson, the woman who knew Tilton-Fogg from high school and who allegedly connected the two.
Watson's bail was revoked by the court after he was stopped by police in a vehicle while Bryson was allegedly trying to hide under some clothing in the back seat. He is being held without bail in the Belknap County House of Corrections.
Attorney Mark Sisti argued that Bryson cannot be found and his client should be given a chance to post bail. He said the whole reason for the bail revocation was that he was with Bryson, and since "she doesn't want to be here," Watson should have another chance to post the same amount of cash and abide by the same conditions as before.
Sisti produced a letter from Watson's former employer saying that he would hire him back immediately if he posted bail. He said Watson would live with his parents.
Deputy Belknap County Attorney Roni Karnis said nothing has changed since Watson's bail was revoked in November because "contact is contact" and by having Bryson in his car, he violated the terms of his bail agreement.
She said that in order for the court to reconsider the revocation, there must have been some misinterpretation of the facts at the first revocation hearing.
"The circumstances haven't changed," she said.
Bryson is a key witness in the state's trial against Watson. She failed to show up for a different bail revocation hearing in November saying she had an infection in her foot.
Karnis told the judge that police have not been able to locate her. In an agreement with the County Attorney's Office, Bryson agreed she would make herself available to the court in exchange for some consideration for her alleged role in Tilton-Fogg's death.