Police sweep nets 18 alleged street dealers on drug charges

Some of the jingles that the police come up with these days to tag their drug roundups sound like rock song titles or maybe wrestle-mania themes. Recently, a Louisiana drug net coined the name "Throwback -- Takedown" for a sweep in Opelousas that netted 18 arrests, mostly on drug charges. They started the raid dramatically by using a battering ram at 5:30 a.m. to break down the door to their first target.

The Opelousas Police were assisted by the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole, the Opelousas Marshal's office and the Ville Platte Police Department. The operation was declared to be extremely successful. The Chief of the Opelousas Police announced that arrest warrants were all based on video and audio surveillance done in recent weeks.

He said that all those named in the warrants were street dealers of crack cocaine, illegal prescription drugs or other illegal substances. The Chief apparently instructed the officers to remain courteous at all times, which could preserve a future relationship with any individuals who might want to talk and cooperate. The names and addresses of the suspects did not appear in initial press reports nor was there any information regarding contraband seized.

The charges presumably involved possession with intent to distribute and drug trafficking, based on video and audio recordings. Anything that can be seen and filmed or recorded by an undercover agent or out in the open is fair game that will be usually admissible evidence. Rarely, however, do such recordings cover the details of a transaction and often the precise activity being conducted must be filled in by the viewer's subjective perceptions.

Thus, numerous defenses may be available to the drug charges under Louisiana criminal law. Each case must be evaluated independently to determine if probable cause was present and if all legalities were followed. The starting point is for the suspect's counsel to make a thorough investigation of the facts and all surrounding circumstances. Then the case can be discussed between counsel and client to determine what strategy to pursue.

Source: Daily World, Drug roundup nets 18, Evan Moore, Aug. 21, 2013

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