Eleven people were arrested after California authorities reportedly brought down alleged key players in a Tulare County drug ring. In addition to the 11 arrests, officers announced on April 14 that they had seized nearly 1,000 marijuana plants, 56 pounds of methamphetamine, four kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. Defendants are facing allegations of drug possession and transportation. Some defendants are also accused of weapons violations.
With such large drug busts, it can be common for officers to become so enthusiastic that they commit violations leading to illegal search and/or seizure. So far, reports have not indicated that the investigators in this case broke any rules, but a criminal defense attorney would be able to determine whether that had occurred. The series of arrests has led to such a significant haul that officers are given multiple opportunities for missteps.
Officers say that their investigation into this California drug ring began in 2013, when one of the defendants was identified as allegedly being involved in drug trafficking. That man, along with four others, was arrested during a four-month span in Tulare County. Three others were arrested just weeks ago in Riverside County, while two others are being held in Arkansas after being arrested in that state.
As a result of this large bust, law enforcement officials say they intend to petition state government agencies to restore funding for California's Department of Justice task force. The reinforcement of this task force could have significant implications for those living in the Central Valley and other locations. Additional enforcement efforts could lead to more arrests for drug trafficking and drug distribution in the area.
Source: The Fresno Bee, "California AG Harris announces transnational drug-ring bust in Fresno" No author given, Apr. 14, 2014