Two men in custody after Del Mar beach drug bust (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Drug Defense Lawyer Sam Spital:

“On November 25, 2012, it was reported in the UT SAN DIEGO online edition that approximately 2000 pounds of marijuana was seized at about 3:45 a.m. in clear view in two trucks at a Del Mar beach parking lot. It is believed the suspects were waiting for others to buy &/or distribute the marijuana, and because it was foggy they did not think anyone would see them.

In what may be a related event, an abandoned boat washed up to the shore. If not part of drug trafficking, it may have been used to smuggle people across the border.

The writer did not elaborate upon any other facts in order to better evaluate a possible defense strategy.”

–Drug Defense Lawyer Sam Spital


Report: 55 Percent of Arrested Juveniles Tested Positive for Drugs

“In a study released to the news media September 6, 2012, it was reported that 55% of juveniles who were arrested in San Diego County tested positive for drugs. The study also discovered that 58 percent of adult males and 63 percent of adult females arrested also tested positive. Our schools need to place a greater emphasis on education and prevention inasmuch as those who use drugs have the highest incidence of other crimes, such as petty theft (shoplifting), DUI, vandalism, etc. Equally important is the sanctions imposed by the Courts, which should continue to place a greater focus upon intervention and sobriety, and perhaps use more creative incentive programs along with the standard support systems as part of the sentencing protocols.”

Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer

San Diego CBP agents seize drugs worth $253,550 (SAM SPITAL)

“Clearly, the continued escalation of drug smuggling evinces the growing use of and seemingly unending reliance upon drugs by individuals who cannot tolerate their daily life challenges.

~ Addiction is a never ending cycle that demands rigid adherence to known and successful recovery programs.

~ Better education, developing proven life skills, and utilizing accepted and successful support systems can help reduce this scourge.

The role of defense counsel, among other things, is to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence; find all of the procedural errors, if any; marginalize the opponent case; and, emphasize the mitigating facts and circumstances.

The overriding premise is that everyone deserves a full and fair hearing, and even though accused of a crime are innocent unless and until proven guilty. It is too easy to rush to judgement based upon media accounts that far too frequently do not provide a balanced report.”

Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer

ICE on the lookout for drug smugglers crossing into San Diego

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is taking action to combat drug smugglers that are luring Tijuana citizens to participate in alleged drug trafficking operations that move narcotics across the U.S. border into San Diego.

According to ICE officials, the Tijuana ‘drug lords’ are placing ads in local newspapers alerting citizens of what appear to be reputable employment opportunities involving transporting company vehicles across the border. These jobs later turn out to be fronts for drug trafficking operations, often resulting in the innocent drivers being arrested and charged with federal drug crimes when they reach California.

Since 2011, ICE has apprehended and arrested nearly 40 such drivers at the San Diego border. This reportedly led to the seizure of 100 pounds of methamphetamine, 75 pounds of cocaine and more than 3,300 pounds of marijuana.

To alert Tijuana residents of the potential of arrest and criminal penalties, ICE has placed ads of its own into the two main newspapers in Tijuana. “Warning! Drug traffickers are announcing employment for drivers to cross to the United States,” the ads read. “Don’t be a victim of the smuggler’s trap.”

ICE says that, in most cases, the drivers suspected that something was amiss. However, needing gainful employment, they were willing to overlook the inconsistencies and irregularities for the promise of a much-needed paycheck.

For example, one Tijuana man told officers that he had searched the vehicle, suspecting that his new employer may have been up to something illegal. Despite his search, he did not find the 30 pounds of cocaine that were packed into the gas tank, which ultimately led to his arrest when he reached the U.S.

Drug charges upheld in case where drugs delivered via mail

Who doesn’t like getting packages in the mail? Imagine, however, that you receive and sign for a package, only to discover it contains illegal drugs. One man, who found himself in this situation, is now facing misdemeanor drug charges.

Appealing a lower court’s decision, the man claims police who arrested him lacked probable cause to do so. According to court documents, a package intended for the address at which the man resides, was intercepted by a United Sates Postal Service worker who believed the package contained drugs.

A police officer posing as a postal worker made a “controlled delivery” of the package to the man’s home. The police officer maintains the man acknowledged the package was intended for him. The man, however, contends the package was addressed to another recipient and that the police officer coerced him into signing for it. He argued he planned to return the unopened package to the post office.

The appellate judge hearing this case remarked that it was one of the first to address questions related to if the acceptance of a package delivered via a “controlled delivery” qualifies as probable cause to arrest the recipient.

In her opinion, the judge maintained probable cause is classified by “some awareness that the package contains contraband” on the recipient’s part. While in this specific instance, law enforcement officials had additional information to tie the man to criminal drug activity, the case is interesting in the potential questions it raises related to a recipient’s liability for the contents of packages delivered via mail.

Ratings and Reviews

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