By Genesis Guzman
SACRAMENTO, CA – Defense counsel for Beaumont Burgess, a Sacramento man charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, didn’t deny here in Sacramento County Superior Court Monday that the drugs found on Burgess were for his own personal use.
In short, his defense was that he may be consuming illegal drugs. But he’s not selling them as the prosecution claims.
On Feb. 3 in the county of Sacramento, Officer William Maslak was on patrol and said he spotted a red vehicle with the passenger door open at a hotel parking lot. He saw a female in the car and another person standing outside near the car, who he later identified to be the defendant Burgess.
But, when the officer said that during the preliminary hearing, the defendant interjected over zoom said “That’s a lie.”
The officer said he asked Burgess where the meth was and he said it was in his right pocket. Maslak testified he searched and found a black zipper bag that contained the meth, a syringe, and a working scale.
The substance was tested and it proved to be methamphetamine and the total weight was 27.8 grams, about one ounce. Deputy District Attorney Saron Tesfai then asked the court to qualify the officer as an expert relating to the possession of methamphetamine for sale.
Defense counsel Ray Thomas then questioned the officer to contest his qualification as an expert on the possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell. During his questioning Maslak answered questions regarding the street value of meth and experience regarding meth possession and sale during his career.
Judge Helena R. Gweon was confused as to why the officer had responded so unsurely to the questions regarding pricing when he had in fact responded accurately and his responses show cause to believe in his expertise. Maslak explained that this was only his fourth court appearance and he was quite nervous.
Gweon then agreed with Tesfai’s request to deem Maslak an expert. The officer concluded that the substance found on Burgess was intended to be sold based on the large amount found on him and the fact that he had a scale on him which is commonly used by sellers.
Maslak said the syringe found also didn’t steer him away from thinking that the meth was for sale because it is common for meth dealers to also consume the product they are selling.
Thomas argued that the amount of meth found was not an indicator that it would be used for sale because even though it was a large amount he didn’t necessarily plan to use it all at once and he could have just consumed some and used the rest later.
The defense also noted the officer had found a glass pipe on the defendant later at the station which is also commonly used to smoke meth and that paraphernalia along with the syringe could be signs of personal use.
Thomas added Maslak had not witnessed any contact from the defendant with anybody else to prove he was selling the meth.