A small group of Salem State University students were hard at work in their off-campus apartment, setting up the products they needed to sell for their business. It was just a small business, run out of their apartment but they enjoyed the work and the flexible nature of the business allowed them to continue their class and home work and involvement in varsity athletics.
A knock on the door of their apartment was responded to with a friendly “ come on in”. They quickly realized their mistake when the person entering their apartment identified himself as Sgt. Harry Rocheville of the Salem Police department. Sgt. Rocheville was actually assisting a snow removal operation down on the street and was making sure residents had moved their cars from the street so they were not towed. The students realized this was a mistake because the business products they were packaging, now in full view of Sgt. Rocheville, were bags of marijuana.
Sgt. Rocheville quickly obtained a warrant to search the rest of the apartment and all six of the occupants, including two members of Salem State's varsity ice hockey team were arrested. Some were charged with possession with intent to distribute and others with conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws, felony charges that will be difficult to refute. Conviction may bring a 2 year jail sentence $500 fine or both. Baggies and scales were present in the apartment and it is that equipment that qualifies someone for the charge of intent to distribute, not the amount in their possession.
Although there is nothing in any of the reports that suggest that the students were also using the product, it is well known that one of the effects of marijuana use is a sense of calm and a relaxed feeling. Maybe this would account for the easy invitation to enter when Sgt. Rocheville knocked, rather than any concern that maybe the marijuana and other drug paraphernalia should be hidden from outsiders.