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A Superior Court hearing for a former Harvard University Dining Services manager charged with trafficking $500,000 worth of marijuana was postponed yesterday, because the defense counsel was unable to appear in court.
The administrative review to discuss the denial of a motion to suppress evidence in the trial was moved to March 25.
Former Lowell and Winthrop House Dining Hall Manager Angelo Dalla Santa is on trial in Middlesex Superior Court on charges of conspiracy to violate drug laws and marijuana trafficking.
Justice of the Superior Court Wendie I. Gershengorn denied the motion in a Memorandum of Decision Feb. 18 due to insufficient evidence that the police search was falsely justified.
Dalla Santa had contended in his Sept. 18 motion that an affidavit filed by a witness showed that the officers conducting a search with a drug-sniffing canine falsified information to secure a search warrant.
This search warrant subsequently allowed police to discover concrete boxes containing a shipment of 300 pounds of marijuana.
The police wrote in an affidavit that a canine had arrived to search the area and had “alerted on” three boxes at 3:45 p.m., but a subsequent affidavit filed by the witness contended that the police dog had arrived at 3 p.m. was searching at 3:10 p.m.
But these inconsistencies do not prove that the police statement was “in reckless disregard for the truth,” Gershengorn wrote.
“There are discrepancies in the two affidavits, however, none of the discrepancies meet the threshold requirement of a substantial preliminary showing that [the officer on duty] intentionally or knowingly made false statements to secure a search warrant,” Gershengorn wrote in the memorandum.
Dalla Santa was arrested Nov. 20, 2001 with codefendants Scott A. Galant and Joseph Smith, a grand jury indicted him Jan. 24, 2002 and the case was moved from the Somerville District Court to Superior Court in February 2002.
“Not just any case gets to the Superior Court,” Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office Spokesperson Emily J. LaGrassa said last February. “It’s usually a crime of a serious nature.”
Both of the charges against Dalla Santa carry a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 15 years in Superior Court.
The administrative review scheduled to be held yesterday was an opportunity for both sides’ counsel to review the status of the case.
“It was a time for them to check in, because since last court date there was a ruling on that motion, and they have to determine how case will go on from that point,” LaGrassa said yesterday.
Dalla Santa’s attorney did not return calls yesterday.
Dalla Santa, who pleaded not guilty to both counts, is no longer a University employee. Harvard University Dining Services named a new manager in Lowell and Winthrop last May.
—Staff writer Katharine A. Kaplan can be reached at email@example.com.
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