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Lack of knowledge could be an issue in massive drug raid

People who live with or get in a car with other people do not always know what kind of substances that person might have in his or her possession. In fact, lack of knowledge can be a serious issue for those people, especially when drug agents begin making arrests in large raids. Law enforcement officers are bound to protect individuals who are innocent of drug charges, even though they may have been associating with those accused of drug possession.

It is not clear whether that situation occurred when dozens of raids were conducted in late January in three California counties, resulting in 11 people being arrested for charges related to firearms, marijuana and methamphetamine. Four other defendants remain at large.

The ring became a priority for investigators in September when one of the defendants reportedly told an informant that he could procure 200 pounds of pure crystal methamphetamine. A series of wiretaps and other investigative moves then led to the raid locations. Authorities say that marijuana was being cultivated by the group, with more than 2,100 plants seized at one of the raid locations.

Officers say they found evidence that suggests that the defendants used sophisticated techniques for smuggling contraband throughout the region. They apparently unearthed about 60 pounds of street-ready pot, along with 90 pounds of a substance believed to be methamphetamine. Dozens of law enforcement agencies in the Central Valley collaborated to conduct the investigation.

The individuals in this case are facing federal drug trafficking charges. Although medical marijuana is legal in California, it is regulated, and it appears that these people may have been operating outside of that system. Even though a large number of people were arrested, some of them may have been unaware of the drug trafficking operation. Those defendants may benefit from the assistance of a qualified California attorney, who may be able to protect their courtroom rights as their cases proceed through the legal system.

Source: Merced Sun-Star, "Guns, drugs seized in raids targeting cartel in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties; 11 arrested" Rob Parsons, Jan. 29, 2014

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