Just weeks after a sweep resulted in the arrests of 30 defendants in Blair County, two men in a home in the Feltonville area of Philadelphia were arrested with more than 15 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that has been tied to several deaths in the current “opioid crisis.” The Pennsylvania Attorney General says that the narcotics have an estimated street value over $2.6 million. The men face drug charges that include possession and conspiracy to distribute.
It is pretty clear that the men in this drug bust had more than the typical amount of fentanyl prescribed by a doctor to an individual. The Attorney General alleges that the drugs could combine to manufacture a quarter million lethal opioid doses. However, it is also important to remember that all defendants have legal rights and that law enforcement’s rush to curb the opioid epidemic does not lead to a trampling of those rights.
A home search usually requires a warrant, unless an officer can articulate some form of reasonable suspicion for a search. Detainees have the right to request an attorney of their choosing, as well as the right not to speak to law enforcement officers – which they should not do prior to consulting an attorney, anyway. As important as it is to prevent people from becoming victims of opioids, it is also crucial to prevent law enforcement officers from taking unconstitutional shortcuts in order to make an arrest.
When someone has been detained or arrested on drug charges, they should immediately seek out a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has a good track record with drug cases. An experienced attorney can investigate the matter and help to explain the possible results. Most importantly, a criminal defense attorney can ensure that all of a defendant’s legal rights are protected and help to get the best possible outcome in the case.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, “2 charged in heroin and fentanyl bust,” Feb. 13, 2018