A New York man was found not guilty Wednesday at his trial on one count of trafficking marijuana on Dec. 17, 2014 in Washington C.H.
The indictment had stated that on Dec. 17, Nelson M. Adelson, 25, of Rosedale, NY, knowingly prepared marijuana in an amount less than 200 grams for distribution.
According to Washington C.H. police officer Charles Hughes’ report, Hughes was dispatched for mutual aid on Dec. 17, 2014 to check a disabled vehicle on Route 35 westbound just east of the 41 exit. Adelson’s right front tire had extensive damage, and Adelson had no jack in order to replace the damaged tire with his spare, according to reports.
Adelson reportedly informed Hughes that he was passing through Washington Court House on his way to Detroit for the holidays. According to the report, while he was waiting on a service vehicle, Hughes was advised that the registration on Adelson’s car had expired on July 15. When questioned, Adelson stated that the vehicle was not his, he was just driving it to the rightful owner.
Hughes called for backup, informing dispatch that something felt wrong with the situation, and then utilized his K-9 “Edo” to check the vehicle for narcotics when backup arrived. According to the report, Edo indicated that there were possible drugs on the driver rear corner of the vehicle. Hughes and a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy checked the trunk area and allegedly found a black jacket with an old roach/joint in the right front pocket.
Hughes and the deputy checked the interior of the vehicle and reportedly located a yellow plastic bag containing several small baggies of marijuana, which appeared to be prepped for sale. Adelson allegedly informed the officers that he had between $6,500 and $6,600 in his possession. Approximately $6,000 in $100 bills were found in the pants pocket laying on the front passenger floorboard, reports said. An additional search allegedly turned up $520.
The total weight of the marijuana found in Adelson’s car was 19.9 grams, police said.
Adelson’s defense attorney, Thomas Arrington, argued during Wednesday’s trial in Fayette County Common Pleas Court that there was no way to connect the money to the marijuana.
“There is a difference between having $6,000 and going to purchase a lot of weed and having a lot of weed and very little money,” Arrington said in closing arguments. “The fact that Mr. Adelson had $6,000 of his personal money — that he doesn’t have to explain where it came from — and some weed doesn’t equal a drug trafficker. There is no way to connect these two things. The State hasn’t done its job by proving to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Adelson was intending to sell this marijuana. He was smoking it with no intent to sell it. The state hasn’t done its job and I hope you see that and will come back with a not guilty verdict.”
After a short deliberation, the jury did come back with a not guilty verdict on the fifth-degree felony count of trafficking.
“The jury just didn’t see the nexus between the money and the marijuana,” Fayette County Assistant Prosecutor John Scott said following the trial.
Adelson will be able to retrieve the forfeited money from the sheriff’s office Thursday morning and can return to his home in New York.