Parking Mishap Turned Narcotics Case

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By Danielle Silva

A man with five outstanding warrants was arrested for several narcotics-related counts after parking his car oddly at a Woodland ampm store.

On June 16, 2019, Patrol Deputy Gary Richter had noticed a vehicle parked at a Woodland ampm in an unusual way. The vehicle had been parked between the gas pump and the air pump with the passenger side facing the air pump. No marked parking was noted below the vehicle. Richter called dispatch to run the license plate number and found that the registration had expired in January of 2019. In addition, the driver of the car, Matthew Joseph Hardin, had five outstanding warrants out for his arrest. Hardin is facing four counts, including possession of controlled substances for sale, transportation of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.

With Hardin present, Richter searched the vehicle and located several bags of NIK-tested narcotics and measuring and packaging tools. The vehicle had two digital gram scales: one of them, with traces of heroin and methamphetamine, located in the center console and the other scale in the back seat. In an ice chest, he found a small blue baggie with 0.14 grams of brown powder heroin and numerous clean blue baggies. In a backpack, he found a sock with a used methamphetamine pipe and a blue Ziploc baggie with 0.16 grams of brown powder heroin, a pill bottle with Hardin’s name, a Coca-Cola hide-a-can with a bag of 0.09 grams of meth, a bag of 1.8 grams of brown powder heroin and a bag of 1.3 grams of black tar heroin.

Richter testified to reading Hardin his Miranda rights and Hardin agreed to speak to him. The defendant told the patrol deputy he had used heroin for nine months and had been selling heroin for three months. Hardin had been using 0.2 grams of heroin a day and claimed to sell a total of 20 sacks of 0.1 to 0.2 grams of heroin per week. Richter claimed Hardin also admitted to weighing and packaging narcotics with the baggies and scale and using the pipe. The defendant also testified to having taken a shower in Dunnigan prior to his contact with the patrol deputy.

When the defendant arrived at the jail, Richter noticed he had a $100 bill, five $20 bills, one $5, and at least one $10. The patrol deputy believed the denominations of money, the location, the statement from the defendant, the narcotics and the packaging and measuring tools made him suspect the defendant of the sale, transportation, and possession of narcotics.

In cross-examination, the officer noted that he didn’t find any markings that the ice chest belonged to the defendant. He also stated he had NIK-tested the bags at the sheriff’s department and did not personally see the car move, which the defense argued meant the defendant did not transport the narcotics.

The court ruled the testimony sufficient for all four counts for the means of the preliminary hearing. The defense requested reduced bail or supervised OR, as the five outstanding warrants were misdemeanors. The prosecution argued the defendant had a failure to appear in the past so he should not be sent on supervised OR. The court denied the request for supervised OR, but reduced the bail.

Arraignment is set for July 18.


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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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