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Drug Busts– Narcotics Surveillance

Law enforcement will in many cases focus on known drug corners by setting up surveillance from an undercover motor vehicle or another confidential location. The “eyes” or officer watching will wait for a dealer to start selling, with back-up units waiting in cars in the surrounding location. Within a couple of hours, police will confirm that a money transaction has taken place between the buyers and the dealer. The dealer may leave to retrieve the drugs from another area, such as a drainpipe or house, which will also be noted.

Once the drugs have been traded for money, the buyers will be tracked by the “eyes”

until the back-up unit stops and searches them. If the detained buyers are identified to have drugs in their possession, then the officer’s suspicions are confirmed and backup shifts into position for the “take down.” If the dealer is apprehended and has no drugs on their person, a case can still be made if they are found to have drug money. The site where the dealer retrieved the drugs can also be tracked and the drugs uncovered. Again, no drugs were really seen on the dealer, but the prosecution has more than enough proof to substantiate the defendant guilty of possession with intent to deliver.

Drug Busts– Conspiring to Sell Drugs

As any business owner can tell you, it requires a lot of workers to manage an enterprise– and drug businesses are no different. The dealer can not potentially manage the whole operation, so he needs small time dealers on the streets to move the “product.” He employs people as “lookouts” to make sure police are not trying to shut down the corner, similar to loss prevention officers at department stores. Someone needs to supply the dealer with the drugs he is selling and offer him extra drugs when he is sold out. And since no dealer likes to have too much money on the corner in the event of an arrest, someone must take and store the money off the corner. Law enforcement observes their actions and arrests people working with the dealer as co-conspirators, even though none of them were in possession of drugs at the time they were arrested.

Drug Busts– Traffic Stops

Oklahoma police come up with all sorts of reasons to halt vehicles in heavy drug trafficking areas, like the now infamous Interstate 40. Neglecting to turn on a signal, rolling through a stop sign, and a broken tail light are just some of the superfluous reasons police use to pull someone over if they suspect the driver has drugs. If the police move toward a car and see furtive movements towards the floor of vehicle, or if the driver seems very apprehensive, then the officer has a right to “fear for their safety.” They will then probably ask the driver for consent to inspect the car.

If the preliminary search of the car does not yield drugs, the driver can still be apprehended if he is found to have plastic baggies or wads of cash on his person. Suspecting drugs are in the car, the officer will then get a search and seizure warrant for the car, and will likely call out the K-9 unit. Upon execution of the warrant, police inevitably find more baggies and the drugs hidden in the car. At the time of arrest, the car driver did not have any drugs on him, but the evidence is pretty strong that he constructively owned the drugs with the intent to sell them.

Drug Busts– Postal Service Interdiction

Many drug dealers have couriers that send drugs through the mail from source states. Many times, the recipient is not even mindful that the package contains drugs, as typically they are just advised to sign for the package and inform the dealer upon its time of arrival. The moment police in the source state get a warrant to open the package, they can confirm that there are drugs within it. Police then sequester the package at the post office, seal it up and send it to its desired destination; however, rather of a normal mailman delivering the package, it is a police officer or postal police officer in disguise. At this point, the police have already obtained an anticipatory search warrant from a magistrate to serve on the source house, if all goes as planned. Once the receiver is paid and the package is taken to the dealer, the car is stopped and the package recovered. Both occupants of the car are apprehended and charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, conspiracy and related offenses.

The package was not on either the driver or passenger at the time of their arrest and the driver was never seen holding the drugs. But again, the proof of their possession and intent to deliver the drugs seized is fairly strong. They could possibly try to declare that they had no knowledge of what was in the package or the driver could argue mere presence, but standing up for a case like this would be difficult.

Drug Busts– Search and Seizure

All drug dealers need to stock their drugs at some venue before they are sold on the streets. Oftentimes, personal tipsters or neighbors supply the police with tips about homes where drugs are being held and sold. Security is then set up and they monitor buyers as they approach the house and exchange money for drugs, while buyers are often stopped and searched for drugs. Covert officers and confidential informants also use pre-recorded buy money to make purchases from dealers selling from houses.

Once enough evidence has been collected to prove that drugs are being sold from a property, the police seek permission to implement a search and seizure warrant on the house. Once executed, the drugs, drug paraphernalia, and pre-recorded buy money are taken from the property as proof of residence and other evidence of drug activity.

Later, the undercover officer will determine the individuals who responded to the door and done business with the buyers and arrest him for PWID. He may have no drugs on him, but there will likely be evidence in his home associating him to the drug sale transaction, such as power bills and documents in his name at that address, a gun in his possession, and pre-recorded buy money that was used hours earlier when a source made a purchase inside the house– all establishing strong direct and circumstantial evidence that he was running a drug business from the site.

Conclusion

You do not need to be in possession of drugs at the time of your capture or be seen supplying or selling off drugs to be charged with possession with intent to deliver. It is what you intend to do with drugs that you actually or constructively possess that becomes a legal issue. Despite the above cases which illustrate compelling evidence of guilt, that does not mean that there are no defenses to possession with intent to deliver charges in drug arrests.

Intent to deliver drugs is a very significant charge, the classification of which is almost always a felony; although, it is often determined by the number of grams of the drug that are in the person’s possession or were supplied. For instance, a possession with the intent to deliver marijuana in Oklahoma is a felony that can carry a sentence of 2 years in jail and a $20,000 fine minimum. Harsher prison sentence and penalties will apply as the amount increases and whether you were caught within 2000 feet of schools, public parks, or public housing.

The likelihood of prison time can be high for these kinds of drug busts. That is why contacting an experienced firm is vital. Without proper representation, your civil rights may be ignored and your trial end result dismal.

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