Jul 29, 2014
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McDonald Suffers Setback in Drug Case

Former longtime Mill Valley shop owner had tried to open the personnel files of the narcotics agents who arrested him after an undercover operation in March.

McDonald Suffers Setback in Drug Case

The of took another turn Wednesday when a Marin County Superior Court judge denied his attempt to get access to the personnel files of the undercover narcotics agents who arrested him.

McDonald, represented by Camille Bosworth from the county public defender’s office, had filed a Pitchess motion in an effort cast doubt on the credibility of Scot Barr and Anthony Souza, special agentss with West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team (West-Net), a multi-agency narcotic task force. McDonald, 70, faces three drug-related felony charges.

In the weeks leading up to the on McDonald’s downtown novelty gifts and porn shop, the , an undercover Souza met with McDonald in the shop on multiple occasions under the guise of purchasing ephedrine, a precursor to manufacturing methamphetamine.

that McDonald sold nearly one pound of a substance purported to be methamphetamine and approximately three pounds of a substance purported to be ephedrine to Souza.

But for being either ephedrine or methamphetamine, and the eight felony charges McDonald faces were trimmed to three: two for possession of phenylpropanolamine with intent to sell it knowing that it would then be used to manufacture methamphetamine; and one felony count of selling a substance in lieu of a controlled substance - in this case a powder that wasn’t the meth he allegedly intended to sell. to those charges.

Because of the negative test results for the seized substances, and also hoping to capitalize on past allegations of corruption involving West-Net officers, McDonald sought to access the personnel files of Souza and Barr.

In the Pitchess motion, Bosworth sought the point out a disparity between McDonald’s intent – he reportedly preferred written communication during Souza’s visits – and Souza’s interpretation of it. In one instance, Souza said wrote “M” on a piece of paper to indicate meth but that he later crossed it out.

Marin County Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson wasn’t swayed by the argument.

“There has not been a showing of good cause here,” Haakenson said. “This did not lay out any plausible scenario that involved any wrongdoing by the officers and didn’t establish good cause that Officer Souza was lying.”

McDonald, who after a three-month stint during which he said he lost more than 30 pounds because he couldn’t get access to a vegetarian meal, heads back to court Nov. 1 to schedule a trial date.

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