Accessory Before The Fact or Drug Offender?

Julie Long was convicted of manufacturing and cultivating marijuana, but has since filed several appeals disputing this judgment. The Rhode Island home where the plants were discovered had crossed paths with several individuals:

The Owner – Randy Randall

The Lessees – Julie Long and boyfriend Joseph Vaillancourt

The Sub-Lessee – Mark Belenkii – a Russian entrepreneur who was also meddling in marijuana cultivation. The defendant claimed that the property was subleased to Belenkii, and as a result he alone should face criminal charges for cultivating marijuana.

Belenkii testified that prior to subletting the property from Julie Long, the operations were mentioned to her (the defendant). Long was informed about the production capacity and she even suggested repairs to the well to further promote the crime.

Other key facts:

  • The defendant met with Belenkii yet again to pick up paraphernalia and drop it off at Hillside Avenue property
  • The defendant was present during the drop-off
  • The defendant possessed one of two keys to the facility
  • Wiretaps and surveillance were set up by the Drug Enforcement Administration to uncover phone conversations between the defendant and the witness – Mark Belenkii. The suspects were under surveillance for smuggling high-grade marijuana and cultivation from Rhode Island to Canada.
  • A search and seizure was subsequently conducted on the home where 173 plants were  found, a pipe, scale and the defendant’s passport and employee badge
  • There were three vehicles located on the property that were registered to the defendant and her boyfriend
  • As a result, the defendant was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver; and manufacturing or cultivating marijuana. The defendant argued however that conspiracy or aiding and abetting would be the most appropriate charges.

The Supreme Court disagreed, and concluded that the jury trial did not make an error in judgment. With several appeals filed, do you think that Long’s most appropriate conviction should be aiding and abetting or simply cultivation and manufacturing of marijuana?

Are you facing a similar charge? If so, contact the RI criminal defense attorneys at 401-272-4001.

Source: Rhode Island Courts