Feds charge 27 in California-Mexico meth ring

The continuing scourge of major crime represents a challenge for law enforcement and the judicial system that has limited resources, but the unintended consequences to those that are easily addicted to Meth often suffer life-long very complex and serious issues as well.

For defense lawyers, their role is to challenge law enforcement’s procedures and protocols that resulted in criminal charges being filed, and to advance their respective client’s rights and best interest by establishing legally sound defenses, focusing on the offense and not only defense, and to present all of the mitigating facts and circumstances. For a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who is passionate about obtaining winning solutions, this is an exciting part of the profession. For additional information and/or to obtain a free consultation, call Managing Attorney Sam Spital.

People v. Jones

In a nine to zero opinion entitled UNITED STATES v. JONES, No. 10-1259, the U.S. Supreme Court, on January 23, 2012, https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1259.pdf affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that reversed the U.S. District Court criminal conviction of drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. The Supreme Court confirmed the police conducted a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it attached and monitored a GPS device to a vehicle. Although there was a warrant issued to the Government, it required the tracking device to be installed within 10 days, but it was actually installed on the 11th day. Therefore, it was deemed a warrantless search in violation of the reasonable expectation of privacy, and the District Court should have suppressed the evidence. As a result of the Supreme Court granting certiorari (after the DC Circuit Court previously denied a petition for a rehearing by the Government), the U.S. District Court sentence to life imprisonment that was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals was affirmed. It is noteworthy that the Supreme Court did not decide whether installing a GPS device requires a warrant, and if not, whether monitoring a GPS device over a very brief period of time, such as a couple days, requires a warrant.

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.

People v. Jones Summary (Drug Trafficking; Conspiracy; Search & Seizure Defense)

In a nine to zero opinion entitled UNITED STATES v. JONES, No. 10-1259, the U.S. Supreme Court, on January 23, 2012, https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1259.pdf affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that reversed the U.S. District Court criminal conviction of drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. The Supreme Court confirmed the police conducted a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it attached and monitored a GPS device to a vehicle. Although there was a warrant issued to the Government, it required the tracking device to be installed within 10 days, but it was actually installed on the 11th day. Therefore, it was deemed a warrantless search in violation of the reasonable expectation of privacy, and the District Court should have suppressed the evidence. As a result of the Supreme Court granting certiorari (after the DC Circuit Court previously denied a petition for a rehearing by the Government), the U.S. District Court sentence to life imprisonment that was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals was affirmed. It is noteworthy that the Supreme Court did not decide whether installing a GPS device requires a warrant, and if not, whether monitoring a GPS device over a very brief period of time, such as a couple days, requires a warrant.

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