Several people were arrested in Southwest Virginia in connection with what police were describing as a sophisticated drug trafficking operation that was also active in at least one other state. Police say that they have identified over 20 people with ties to this operation. But, at this time, they have only made 11 arrests, although they say more are forthcoming. In this latest official action, police made two of their arrests in connection with a search warrant they obtained after arresting another suspect.
Police say that during this operation, which involved the use of confidential informants and other conventional investigation tactics, police seized several weapons as well as methamphetamine. The police say that these people were distributing crystal methamphetamine in the area and were also involved in trading stolen property and firearms on the black market. The charges against those arrested vary widely.
For example, one woman was simply charged with welfare fraud. Others were charged with crimes related to marijuana or simple possession of stolen property. Other than the police’s say-so, it was not clear how these people were involved in the selling or distribution of methamphetamine. In any event, all of these people are facing serious criminal charges. Most of the charges are felonies that can land a person in prison for months, years, or, in the worst cases, even decades. Moreover, fines and restrictive terms of probation are real possibilities.
Even those caught in the net of a police investigation have a viable option of mounting a criminal defense. It is easier than one might think to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to drug investigations. Police and prosecutors may over-charge a suspect or even conduct all or part of their investigations illegally.