This case was tried twice before juries, the first time ending in a mistrial (hung jury) and the second time ending in Ms. S’s conviction on a charge of possession with intent to distribute (PWID) heroin.
The case went to trial, because my client, a heroin addict, insisted that she did not know that two envelopes in her possession contained illegal narcotics. Somebody in India had mailed the envelopes to her family’s apartment in D.C., perhaps trying the recognized tactic of using an innocent family’s mailbox as a pickup site for illegal drugs.
The government’s witnesses were federal agents, mainly from the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Another witness was the Customs and Border Protection agent from Kennedy airport (New York City) who had intercepted the envelopes and opened them when they arrived in the U.S. from India. The main factual issue was the condition of the envelopes when an ICE agent took them from my client: whether my client had opened them or left them sealed.
At the second trial, after the jury’s conviction on the single count of PWID, the judge sentenced my client to four months in jail, with the balance suspended.