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Heroin trafficking cases end as Springfield judge says state police made illegal search

Heroin trafficking cases resulting from a traffic stop on Interstate 91 in Holyoke were dropped this week after a judge ruled state troopers improperly seized evidence.

The paperwork from the prosecution ending the cases against Alexander Jiminez and Carlos Hernandez -- both charged with trafficking heroin in the amount of 36 to 100 grams -- said the case couldn't proceed because a defense motion to suppress evidence was allowed by a judge.

Jiminez, 32, is from Waitsfield, Vermont, and Hernandez, 33, is from Kissimmee, Florida.

Hampden Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey on Monday heard evidence at a hearing on the motion to suppress evidence filed by James R. Goodhines for Hernandez and joined by Timothy M. Farris for Jiminez.

Carey made his ruling from the bench after hearing evidence, saying the troopers should have issued a traffic citation at the February 2017 traffic stop and let the men leave, instead of detaining them until a drug-sniffing dog arrived.

He said if the state police and its Community Action Team want to hold citizens to the letter of the law, then the state police must be held to the letter of the law also.

Testimony at the hearing was that police stopped the car because it was travelling north on I-91 with both passenger side tires on the line between the breakdown lane and the travel lane. The initial stop was for a marked lanes violation, according to police testimony.

Michael Clark