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Man who allegedly broke into state police barracks denied in bid to have evidence tossed

Union Leader Correspondent

July 28. 2014 7:51PM
Ryan Mackenzie, 29, is facing charges of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly removing drugs from his car while it was impounded at the NH State Police barracks in Epping. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE)

BRENTWOOD — A man accused of breaking into a state police barracks garage in Epping so he could remove drugs from his impounded car lost his bid to have evidence thrown out in his case.

Ryan Mackenzie was pulled over for a traffic violation on Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth by a state trooper on Dec. 29, 2011, eventually leading to the discovery of drugs in his car, prosecutors said.

Judge Marguerite Wageling concluded in a court order that Mackenzie’s claims that his constitutional rights were violated because the vehicle stop eventually led to his car being searched for drugs were essentially a moot point.

Any alleged constitutional violation arising from the vehicle stop was “purged” because Mackenzie, 29, of Northwood committed a new crime, Wageling said in the court order.

“The decision to break into the barracks was completely divorced from the initial encounter: temporally, spatially, and existentially,” Wageling said in a seven-page order. “Nothing the trooper did coerced the defendant into the actions which form the basis of the current charges.”

Wageling’s decision comes following a July 15 hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court where Mackenzie’s public defender argued that the scope of the car stop was illegally expansive. State Trooper Tamara Hester testified she initially noticed taillights on Mackenzie’s car were not working.

But the driver then became evasive as he proceeded through traffic lights and did not pull over until Hester activated the cruiser’s emergency lights for the third time, according to her testimony. Eventually, a state police K-9 was called in to sniff around the car when Hester suspected that Mackenzie might have been high on drugs based on her observations of him. Mackenzie’s car was seized when the K-9 indicated drugs were in the car.

Mackenzie is charged with falsifying physical evidence for allegedly taking the drugs from the console in his car while his car was impounded inside the Epping police barracks.

The drugs were contained in a cigarette box and removed sometime during the night of Dec. 30 before state police could execute a search warrant, prosecutors said. The drugs – described as a white powder wrapped in plastic – were gone when Hester executed a search warrant on Dec. 30, 2011.

Mackenzie will now head to trial for falsifying physical evidence charge.

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