Although many drug arrests come about as a result of traffic stops and other encounters when police say they find illegal drugs in the defendant's possession, the authorities are always looking for ways to break up drug distribution networks. State and federal law enforcement often spend months investigating suspected drug rings, and then try to arrest a large number of people at once.
Recently, the FBI announced three indictments against 33 Pennsylvania residents it identified as suspected members of a drug network. FBI agents conducted a large operation to arrest the suspects. According to news reports, agents were able to find and arrest 30 of the individuals. Three were said to be still at large.
Officials said the defendants were involved in trafficking heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs. If convicted, they face the possibility of millions of dollars in fines and decades behind bars. One of the defendants arrested was described as a convicted felon who faces weapons charges that could carry a life sentence.
When reading about large drug busts, it is wise to be skeptical. Law enforcement officials have an interest in making themselves look good, and since law enforcement is typically the source for law enforcement-related stories in the news media, the public often gets a sense of the story that is slanted somewhat in law enforcement's favor.
The truth is that everyone accused of drug crimes deserves a defense. A good criminal defense attorney can help defendants develop a strategy that protects their rights and minimizes the damage criminal charges and convictions can do to their futures.