ITHACA, N.Y. — The trial for a man who allegedly was busted with marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the city of Ithaca began Wednesday morning after more than a day of jury selection.

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Rahsaan Mercado is charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and unlawful possession of marijuana after a March 1, 2015 arrest at 210 South Cayuga Street.

“He was open for business with marijuana, heroin and crack cocaine,” Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski said during opening statements.

She said Mercado was found with marijuana joints and about seven small envelopes of heroin hidden in a cigarette pack. She said Mercado struggled with officers when he was taken into custody and a police officer found about eight small packages of crack cocaine in the backseat of a police vehicle after taking Mercado to police headquarters.

Filipowski said the backseat was checked for items in the hours before Mercado was taken into custody and nobody was in it between that time and the defendant’s arrest.

Mercado’s attorney, Nancy Jane Murphy, told jurors, “Listen carefully to all the testimony about what the prosecutor’s witnesses did and what the prosecutor’s witnesses did not do.”

She said the evidence, or lack thereof, would show that there is not confirmation beyond a reasonable doubt that Mercado is guilty of the crimes he’s accused of committing.

The trial commenced Wednesday afternoon. Several police officers are expected to testify.

Featured photo by Brian Turner of Flickr. 

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Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.