by Maryjo Nuñez
A Contra Costa County man currently faces charges of possession of the controlled substance, methamphetamine, stemming from a vehicle stop in September of last year. On September 15, 2017, Aaron Matthew Thompson and his vehicle had been searched by Yolo County officers who determined that Mr. Thompson possessed over 10 grams of the drug.
Mr. Thompson is currently charged with the possession and transportation of methamphetamine in violation of Health and Safety Code (HS) sections 11378 and 11379, and possession of paraphernalia in violation of HS section 11364, where the paraphernalia may be unlawfully aiding the injection or smoking of questionable substances. The possession charge includes the lesser crime of possession of this substance along with the greater crime of possession of the substance with the intent of selling. Also charged is driving with a suspended license, in violation of Vehicle Code section 14601.1, along with enhancements for prior convictions and violations of probation.
The trial of Mr. Thompson resumed today with both the defense and the People delivering their closing statements. In their statements, both parties readdressed the evidence. Indeed, the People and the defense both do not deny that Thompson uses methamphetamine, however, the defense maintains that he does not engage in selling it.
According to the defense, Mr. Thompson was carrying such a large amount of the drug because he is not a Yolo County resident. Thompson resides in Contra Costa County, and he and his partner decided to go to Yolo County for a camping trip of 10 to 12 days. So, since Mr. Thompson is not familiar with Yolo County, they apparently decided to bring as much methamphetamine as they thought they would need over the course of the trip.
However, Mr. Thompson claims that they had to cut their vacation short by several days, to three days. While driving back home, Thompson was pulled over in Yolo County and his car was searched. In his vehicle, the officers found paraphernalia, a pipe, containing residue of the drug, and a scale, also with residue.
Subsequently, Mr. Thompson was found to be hiding a pouch of methamphetamine in his underwear—which the People cite as distinct evidence that Mr. Thompson certainly understood and remained aware of the drug’s presence. Furthermore, when sent to the lab, it was discovered that the pouch contained 12.007 grams of the drug, a remarkably large amount.
According to an expert witness proffered by the People, normal range of use of the drug is less than 1 gram, and the pouch contained approximately 12 grams—well over the amount for “normal use.” Thus, due to the suspiciously large amount of the drug, along with the scale and the defendant’s history of previous sales, the People concluded that Mr. Thompson demonstrated clear intentions for sale of the drug.
It was revealed that this was not the first time Mr. Thompson has been implicated with methamphetamine and sales. Indeed, in 2013, officers discovered Thompson to be in possession of over 66.8 grams of the drug, along with a scale and packaging materials. In this case, according to the defense, although he was found with a large amount of the drug and scale, the absence of the packaging materials suggests Mr. Thompson did not have intent to sell.
Consequently, the defense advised the jury to consider Mr. Thompson guilty of the lesser crime of simply possessing the methamphetamine and not the greater crime of possession of the drug for sale. On the other hand, the People insisted that Mr. Thompson did intend to sell the drug—maybe not immediately, but perhaps eventually—which necessitates a decision of guilt of the greater crime rather than the lesser crime.