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Stepped-up enforcement resulting in more drug charges

The publicity that has attended the "opioid crisis" in the United States has put considerable pressure on law enforcement agencies to crack down on the illegal sale and distribution of drugs, in general, and of heroin and opioids, in particular. Because of this, Pennsylvania has seen a large number of drug sweeps and multi-defendant drug busts over the last several months. While stemming the tide of deaths from opioids is crucial, so too is making sure that defendants arrested on drug charges are afforded all their constitutional rights.

Because they're conducted in haste and involve large numbers of officers and defendants across multiple locations, broad sweeps can sometimes involve slipshod police work in which warrants are imprecise or searches and interrogations fail to meet all the necessary legal requirements. As an experienced attorney would know, this is not always the case. And in instances where law enforcement officers may have taken some shortcuts, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer will know how to challenge such actions.

For example, a recent Blair County sweep - the sixth since 2017 - resulted in drug charges against more than 30 individuals, ranging in age from 19 to 64. The majority of the defendants were from the city of Altoona, and many were allegedly involved in selling opioids, methamphetamine and heroin. In light of such serious accusations, it's incumbent on law enforcement to prove that they did their jobs correctly and legally.

Defendants facing drug charges should seek out a lawyer experienced in handling such cases. Because of overlapping jurisdictions, a drug case may end up in state or federal court, and a seasoned attorney will understand what either outcome can mean. Working with a lawyer who is experienced in handling drug-related matters can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case.

Source: Centre Daily Times, "Attorney general announces 31 drug busts in Blair County," Jeremy Hartley, Jan. 19, 2018

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