BOSTON, April 3, 2013—A Suffolk Superior Court jury deliberated for fewer than 15 minutes last week before convicting a recidivist drug dealer of selling heroin to a plainclothes Boston Police officer, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
Jurors on March 27 convicted JULIO MEDINA (D.O.B. 8/14/58) of distributing a Class A substance in a school zone for selling members of the District D-4 Drug Control Unit five bags of heroin near a South End school in 2009. The drug evidence in the case had been certified by Annie Dookhan, a former Department of Public Health chemist accused of mishandling evidence in some cases.
“Given all the facts, anyone can see that the evidence in a drug case is never limited to merely the drugs,” Conley said. “There’s a sequence of events before and after the arrest. There’s a pattern of evidence surrounding the drugs, their packaging, and their distribution. The jury made the right call and they made it in record time – even without knowing this defendant’s long and egregious history.”
Assistant District Attorney Craig Iannini of the DA’s Senior Trial Unit proved at trial that Boston Police obtained information that Medina was selling heroin and used a phone number linked to him to set up a purchase on July 27, 2009.
Medina agreed to meet an officer near a convenience store near the corner of Appleton and Berkeley streets. He told the officer to call when they were at the agreed-upon location. When the officer made that call, the evidence showed, Medina said he would arrive on a bicycle in five minutes.
A short time later, Iannini proved, Medina rode up on a bicycle and asked, “How many do you want?” The officer explained that he wanted five bags for $100. Medina spat five plastic bags from his mouth into his hand and gave them to the officer. The officer in turn provided Medina with $100 in pre-recorded buy money and asked if he could call Medina in the future. Medina said that he could.
Additional DCU officers moved in and arrested Medina after the sale. Medina removed an additional bag of heroin from his mouth and tried to discard it, but the officers recovered it. They also recovered the plainclothes officer’s buy money, additional cash, and Medina’s cell phone showing an incoming call from the plainclothes officer.
Boston Police submitted the drugs to the Department of Public Health drug-testing facility in August 2009 and Annie Dookhan was the confirmatory chemist. The substance in all six recovered bags of evidence was certified as heroin.
Medina defaulted at his 2010 trial date and was subsequently apprehended in late 2011. In June 2012, after learning of an earlier breach of protocol by Dookhan at the lab but before learning of the alleged malfeasance for which she is now criminally charged, prosecutors in an abundance of caution asked that the evidence in Medina’s case be re-tested. Once again, but this time by a different chemist, it was certified as heroin.
“If the evidence doesn’t support a charge, we won’t pursue it,” Conley said. “We’ve made that decision in some of the so-called Dookhan cases, just as we have in many other types of cases. But when the evidence is solid, and when the defendant, like this one, is an incorrigible repeat offender, we’re going to pursue a conviction and prison time.”
Medina has 42 convictions on his 13-page criminal record including 11 for drug offenses, four for violent crimes, and three for weapon-related crimes. He faces another trial April 22 for enhanced penalties as a habitual offender. He was represented by attorney Janet Macnab.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.