Charges against Randolph man to be dropped over Braintree evidence problems

The case would be the 12th to be dismissed since Braintree officials announced that they had discovered major problems in the police department's evidence room and had hired an outside auditor.

September 17, 2016

According to The Patriot Ledger , the Norfolk District Attorney's office said Friday that it will drop the charges, which dated back to 2010, when Eber J. Soto-Gomez, 32, of Randolph, is brought into court Monday to be arraigned on a new set of charges based on the discovery of more than three pounds of cocaine and heroin and $31,000 in cash during raids in Randolph last month.

Soto-Gomez is also facing drug-trafficking charges in Suffolk County and was being held without being allowed to post bail because he didn't show up for a court date for the 2010 charges.

The case would be the 12th to be dismissed since Braintree officials announced that they had discovered major problems in the police department's evidence room and had hired an outside auditor. The audit, released to the public Wednesday, said that 60 guns, 4,709 pieces of narcotics evidence and about $408,000 in cash could not be found, though some of the cash and all but 12 of the guns have since been accounted for.

The 2010 charges against Soto-Gomez stem from a raid at a Braintree home that police said was being used for a drug-packaging operation. Police at the time said they seized about 12 ounces of cocaine and around an ounce of heroin, along with almost $22,000 in cash.

Soto-Gomez stopped showing up at his court dates sometimes after his arraignment and wasn't found until recently, when he was charged with drug trafficking in Suffolk County. His bail in that was revoked because of the 2010 case, which is now being dismissed.

While behind bars on the Suffolk County charges, Soto-Gomez was charged in connection with drugs and cash found in a pair of raids last month in Randolph. He is due to be arraigned on those charges Monday.

Soto-Gomez was one of six people arrested after the 2010 raid. It was not clear Friday whether the five other defendants' cases had been affected by the evidence problems.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey has said that 200 to 400 drug cases are being reviewed to see if they were based on evidence that was tainted while in the custody of Braintree police. Morrissey has said his office was focusing on cases that involved evidence that was in the Braintree evidence room between 2013 and earlier this year.

The district attorney's office began seeking the dismissal of charges in some of those cases Monday in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. Five superior court cases had been dropped by Tuesday and a sixth case – involving a Quincy man charged with dealing PCP – was dropped Wednesday in Quincy District Court.

The district attorney's office said Thursday that charges in four additional cases had been dismissed in district court. Another charge, involving a man accused of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell it, was dismissed Friday morning.

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