Judge rejects bid to drop drug evidence

January 13, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A New York man arrested on drug charges during a raid of a Finksburg massage parlor last summer has lost his bid to have the evidence against him thrown out of court.

Byong Ho Son argued this week that since the cocaine he was charged with possessing was found as a result of an illegal search, the cocaine should not be introduced as evidence at his Feb. 3 trial.

Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold rejected the argument and dismissed Mr. Ho's request, saying officers did nothing wrong when they searched him outside the Sunn Express Oriental Spa on July 16.

Detective Sgt. Andrew McKendrick, a member of the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force, was standing outside the spa as it was being raided. His job that night was to stop and search anyone who wanted to enter the business during the raid.

Mr. Ho, who doesn't speak English, drove up and indicated he wanted to enter the spa to give his sister some food, testimony revealed Tuesday.

Sergeant McKendrick testified he told Mr. Ho that if he wanted to bring his sister some food, he would have to be searched. Mr. Ho raised his arms, and the sergeant conducted the search.

As the search progressed, another officer reported seeing Mr. Ho throw a packet toward the grass. The packet contained cocaine, so Mr. Ho was arrested and charged with cocaine possession.

Brian J. McNamara, Mr. Ho's attorney, argued Tuesday that Mr. Ho never consented to the raid and therefore was illegally searched. He noted that the purpose of the raid was to find evidence of prostitution, not drugs.

"The state is saying, 'We conducted an illegal search, but we found all this evidence, so it should go in,' " the attorney said.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III said the search was proper because anyone asking to enter was required to be searched.

Judge Arnold agreed with Mr. Walker, but he said he might have agreed with Mr. McNamara had the drugs not been thrown away by Mr. Ho but rather found on his body.

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