A Queen Anne’s County jury convicted Kevin Tarrell Briscoe, 27 of Centreville, of Possession with the Intent to Distribute both Fentanyl and Cocaine on October 31, 2019. The case was prosecuted by Deputy State’s Attorney Michael “Mick” Cuches.
The charges arose on September 29, 2018 at approximately 12:55 when Corporal Charles Harris received a telephone call from an individual who stated he observed what he believed to be a hand to hand drug deal in the Citgo parking lot located at 426 South Commerce Street in Centreville. Corporal Harris received a description of the individuals involved and their vehicles, however, the caller remained anonymous.
Corporal Harris and Officer Futrel Jackson then responded to the Citgo and upon their arrival observed three men and the vehicle matching the description given by the caller. These individuals were identified as Sean Merrigan, Reginald Demby, and Kevin Briscoe. It was discovered that Mr. Briscoe had an active arrest warrant. Mr. Briscoe was then taken to the Centreville Police Department where a strip search of Mr. Briscoe was authorized by Sgt. Hobbs in compliance with their departmental policies. This increased search was authorized due to the nature of the initial call, the observations by the officers of the nervous actions of the individuals, their history, and the fact that the officers were unable to locate any contraband indicative of drug dealing. During the search of Mr. Briscoe Corporal Harris noticed the end of a plastic baggie sticking out of Mr. Briscoe’s rectum. Corporal Harris removed the baggie and placed it on the floor of the holding cell. Inside of the plastic baggie was one Alprazolam pill, and two smaller plastic baggies. Inside of one plastic baggie was fourteen (14) grey capped vials each containing cocaine. Inside of the other smaller baggie were five (5) clear capsules, each containing a white powdery substance initially thought to be heroin. Later, Officer Jackson returned to the Citgo and reviewed the surveillance footage of that afternoon. The video showed a white pickup truck arrive and meet with the occupants of the silver vehicle for a short period of time, then leave the Citgo parking lot without the occupants of the pickup truck getting gas or going into the building.
The drugs were seized and sent to the Maryland State Police Crime lab where they were tested and came back positive as Alprazolam, Cocaine and the suspected heroin turned out to be Fentanyl. Mr. Briscoe was charged with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and fentanyl, possession of those substances, as well as possession of alprazolam, and possession of paraphernalia.
Through his defense attorney, Mr. Briscoe filed a pre-trial suppression motion arguing that the police lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to stop and interview him and that his eventual arrest was unlawful. The contested Motions hearing was held before the Honorable Thomas G. Ross, after which a written opinion ruled that the police officer had sufficient reasonable articulable suspicion to speak with Mr. Briscoe, and, nevertheless, the existence of the arrest warrant for Mr. Briscoe was sufficiently attenuated so as to dissipate the taint of any purported illegal stop.
The case then proceeded to a jury trial on October 31, 2019 before the Honorable Paul Bowman, retired judge of the Circuit Court for Kent County. At trial, Corporal Harris and Officer Jackson testified about the events of September 29, 2018. Additionally, Maryland State Police Corporal Michael Buckius, a member of the Queen Anne’s County Drug Trask Force, testified as an expert in the field of drug identification, detection and distribution. He testified that the amount of cocaine and fentanyl possessed by Mr. Briscoe indicated an intention to distribute. He further testified regarding the characteristics of fentanyl and cocaine possession by mere users, as opposed to those who possess it with the intent to distribute. He further testified that the video surveillance footage from the Citgo was consistent with a hand-to-hand drug transactions. The jury convicted Mr. Briscoe of all charges and Judge Bowman revoked his pre-trial release status. Mr. Briscoe was then ordered to be held at the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center pending the results of a pre-sentence investigation. A sentencing date has not been set.