By Bryce Gaston
Defendant Ou Ching Saefong is facing charges after officers allegedly found evidence of four types of controlled substances inside his truck.
Deputy Jose Pineda of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office testified that just before 10:00 PM on October 6, 2018, he was dispatched to a call regarding a truck that was parked blocking a driveway in the El Macero area of Davis. After running the driver’s name through the system, he found the driver of the vehicle to be the defendant, Ou Ching Saefong, who was on searchable probation. He was accompanied by his girlfriend in the front passenger seat of the truck.
As Deputy Pineda began speaking with them, he noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the truck. He asked Mr. Saefong to get out of the truck and placed him in his patrol vehicle. His girlfriend also got out of the truck in order for Pineda and another officer to conduct a search.
During the search, the officers found several items that raised concern, including a meth pipe, Ecstasy, foil and straws used for inhaling heroin, and six strips of Suboxone (a Schedule 5 controlled substance typically used to help treat heroin withdrawals).
When questioned about the items found in the truck, the defendant’s girlfriend claimed that the meth pipe and Ecstasy belonged to her. She also admitted that they both had done heroin within the past six to seven hours. The defendant told Deputy Pineda that he was not an Ecstasy user, because he did not enjoy how it made him feel, however he was planning on using the Suboxone later that day.
Closing arguments were completed today. The People argued that this case meets all of the elements necessary to convict Ou Ching Saefong of possession of a controlled substance. The defense disagreed, claiming that the only reason Saefong would have needed the Suboxone is if he had stopped taking heroin and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms – which was not the case, because he had taken heroin six to seven hours prior. The defense therefore contended that the Suboxone belonged to the defendant’s girlfriend, not Saefong himself.
In order to convict Mr. Saefong, the jury must conclude that the defendant was in possession of a controlled substance, that he knew it was there and that he knew it was a controlled substance. They began their deliberations Tuesday afternoon, taking witness testimonies into consideration.
The jury will decide whether or not Mr. Saefong is guilty of possessing Suboxone beyond a reasonable doubt, or if there is a chance his girlfriend was the only possessor of the controlled substance.