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N.Y. man convicted of multiple drug charges

April 18, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- A Washington County Circuit Court jury last week convicted a New York man on charges of possession with intent to distribute a large amount of crack cocaine found beneath the spare tire in a rented car, according to court records.

Garette Edgar Kearse, 30, of 524 Pine St., Apt. 2, Brooklyn, N.Y., also was convicted of possession with intent to distribute narcotics and possession of a controlled dangerous substance-not marijuana, court records show.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 29 years in prison upon conviction.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ordered that a presentence report be prepared, according to court records. No sentencing date was set.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Oct. 1, 2009, Maryland State Police Cpl. Brian Smith clocked a vehicle on southbound Interstate 81 going 67 mph in a 60-mph zone, according to a statement of probable cause filed in Washington County District Court. The license-plate lights also were not working, according to the statement.

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Smith testified Tuesday that Kearse had no driver's license and was driving a car rented to another person, who was not among the occupants of the car. The rental agreement also indicated the car should have been returned several days earlier, Smith testified.

A drug-sniffing police dog "alerted" on the vehicle, Smith testified. A search of the trunk turned up 115.6 grams of crack cocaine in a plastic bag hidden beneath the car's spare tire, according to the statement.

Robert Veil, the supervising attorney for the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, explained in his opening statement that more than 50 grams of cocaine is considered a large amount under Maryland law.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Robin K. Ficker told the jury there was no forensic evidence such as fingerprints tying Kearse to the drugs, and he argued that few people renting a vehicle would check the trunk for contraband. Ficker also told the jury that the only personal items in the trunk belonged to one of the other occupants.

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