By Julian Navarro
SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento defendant—found with contraband in his underwear—appeared to be the odd man out here at his preliminary hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court.
While there were other suspects in the area of a police dragnet April 9, Semaj D. Myers tried to hide behind an electrical box, and ultimately was arrested for three felonies, including possession for sale of cocaine and cocaine base, possession of controlled substance while armed and possession of firearm by a felon.
During a routine check, Sacramento Police Department’s North Gang Enforcement Team was patrolling North Sacramento just past south of Del Paso Heights.
Officer Chad Lewis testified they were patrolling northbound on Empress just south of El Camino in North Sacramento after recent criminal activity in that area. While patrolling they observed a known Del Paso blood gang member, who was on searchable probation, with two other subjects, he said.
Officer Lewis stated as he passed he noticed a suspect duck behind a large electric box just south of the CVS parking lot. Law enforcement decided to stop and turn around to make contact with the group of suspects.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Schweibish asked Officer Lewis, “Is there anything particular about this location that you’re aware of or is there any activity that you know to frequently take place in this area?”
Officer Lewis replied yes, that “directly to the east of the entrance of the CVS parking lot is a closed alley that is known for crack cocaine users, gang members and drug dealers.”
Lewis said that as law enforcement approached the suspects they started to move away from the electrical box. Officer Lewis went directly to the area where he saw Myers duck, and located what they believed to be discarded contraband. As he approached the area he saw a backpack located in the surrounding area.
As Officer Lewis searched the backpack he noticed a good amount of crumpled up money, and then found a draw-string bag which contained processed marijuana. While he was holding the bag it felt unusually heavy and then he discovered a loaded 9mm handgun.
Officer Lewis added that, while he didn’t recall any of the three people ever having possession of the backpack, all three were in the area. Myers was the only one that police noticed ducking upon the approach of the officers.
During his first search, Myers was found with about 2.7 grams of powder cocaine.
Myers advised the officers that he had contraband inside his underwear during the search—he had 16 bindles of individually wrapped crack cocaine rocks and more crumpled up money.
Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle ruled that that “all three counts are committed (and) there is sufficient cause to believe that the defendant is guilty.
Next court hearing will be on Nov. 30 for arraignment in Dept. 10 at 8:30 a.m. and a trial date set.
Julian Navarro is a senior at Sacramento State majoring in Criminal Justice. He is from Half Moon Bay, California.
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