Jury to decide: Were drugs found on suspect for his use, or for sale?

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PITTSFIELD — What's the difference between carrying drugs for one's own personal use and carrying drugs intending to sell them?

That's the central question with which jurors will eventually have to deal in the case of Naquan T. Lamb, charged with intending to distribute cocaine in his possession when he was pulled over Feb. 15, 2017, by members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

Testimony in Lamb's trial on charges of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of oxycodone began Friday in Berkshire Superior Court.

Whether Lamb was in possession of the drugs is not at issue; his attorney, Elizabeth Quigley, acknowledged that much in her opening statement, but she told jurors their job would be to determine whether his intent was to use them himself or sell them.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yolano told jurors that Lamb had refused to stop for police, who were trying to pull his car over for a marked-lanes violation and a failure to signal before a turn. He said police resorted to pulling in front of Lamb's vehicle to force it to stop and saw Lamb make suspicious movements in the car before ordering him out of the car at gunpoint.

A pat frisk found Lamb with slightly less than 14 grams of crack cocaine in his pocket, but no user paraphernalia in the car. He was arrested and, during a search while being booked, police found an additional 0.7 grams of crack cocaine and two oxycodone pills in his navel.

Yorlano told jurors they would hear testimony that would explain how police reached their determination that the amount of drugs and cash seized and the circumstances under which that happened meant Lamb was intending to sell the drugs.

A little less than $400 was seized, according to Yorlano.

Quigley said she would present evidence challenging that assertion and also the notion that Lamb was making the furtive movements that prompted police to order him out of the car at gunpoint.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue Monday before Judge John Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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