LEWISTON — A Boston man is seeking to have a judge throw out evidence seized by police from his vehicle.

Yehudi Pardo, 34, was in U.S. District Court in Portland on Wednesday where his attorneys argued that the seizure of a firearm, Tupperware containing traces of marijuana and cash by police without a warrant violated his constitutional rights, specifically the Fourth and 14th amendments.

A judge said Wednesday he would rule on the matter later.

Pardo said in court papers that federal drug agents had tapped the phone of a Lewiston man who had apparently arranged to meet with Pardo to sell him marijuana.

A drug agent asked a Maine State Police trooper to stop Pardo’s vehicle on the Maine Turnpike and search it because they had probable cause based on the wire tap information.

A trooper pulled over Pardo’s vehicle on Feb. 25, 2018, and told him he was stopped because he was going 66 mph in a 70-mph zone that had been reduced to 45 mph because of poor weather conditions, according to Pardo’s memorandum in support of his motion.

The trooper told Pardo she was going to have a sniffer dog check his vehicle for drugs. The dog indicated it detected narcotics. The trooper told Pardo she would search his vehicle.

Pardo told the trooper he didn’t have any narcotics in the vehicle but had a gun in the glove box, cash to buy a car and two dogs in the back seat, according to the memo.

The trooper found the gun, $30,000 in cash and a “marijuana-related magazine.”

The trooper took photos and told a drug agent of her findings. The agent told her to seize the gun and cash, which she did.

Pardo said in an affidavit that the trooper searched his vehicle “without a warrant and without my consent,”and that the trooper seized his gun and cash from his vehicle without a warrant or his consent.

Pardo was charged last year with attempted possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in December, after which a judge allowed him to be released on personal recognizance so he could work in an oil field in Texas.

Prosecutors had argued in court records that Pardo’s suppression motion “is devoid of any stated basis upon which the defense claims the initial stop was unlawful, the canine sniff was unlawful or the ensuing search was unlawful. The government is again left guessing as to the nature of the asserted constitutional violations.”

Pardo’s earlier motion to dismiss the charge was rejected by the judge, who ruled that Pardo had been made sufficiently aware of the charge against him and that prosecutors had not been required to present enough evidence against him to support the charge.

“The court cannot and will not comment on the sufficiency of this proffer or the evidence generally,” U.S. District Judge George Singal wrote.

A federal grand jury handed up a 41-count indictment last October against more than a dozen suspects — most from Lewiston and Auburn — stemming from federal raids in 20 locations in the Twin Cities area in February 2018.

The aim of the raids was to bust a medical marijuana-growing operation that illegally sold surplus pot and derivatives, according to police and federal drug agents.

Prosecutors alleged the drug-trafficking organization grew and distributed large amounts of marijuana under the cover of Maine’s medical marijuana program, but sold marijuana to buyers who were not participants in the program and included out-of-state customers.


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