The war on drugs in Louisiana is going strong. But regardless of the apparent zeal often exhibited by law enforcement, anyone who is accused of drug crimes in the state of Louisiana is entitled to certain legal rights during any arrest or trial regarding such charges. With these issues in mind, Lake Charles readers will be interested in a case involving a man who will now have to mount a very strong and meaningful defense before a New Orleans grand jury. The man hails from Buffalo, New York, and he now faces federal weapons and drug charges in Louisiana.
The incident that led to the charges occurred shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Saint Tammany Parish. The 52-year-old man was reportedly pulled over by Louisiana State Troopers for a traffic violation.
The police allege that the man acted nervously and offered conflicting statements when questioned, apparently prompting troopers to ask if he had anything illegal inside the vehicle.
A drug dog was brought to the scene and reportedly alerted police to the possible presence of drugs. According to a news report, the man responded by saying that there might be "a little weed or blow" in the car. After a search, the troopers found an alleged 8 bundles of cocaine (amounting to 13 kilograms) in the vehicle, along with three weapons. Investigators claim to have found a "sophisticated hidden compartment" within the roof of the vehicle.
Louisiana readers know that that there are at least two sides to every story. According to a local news report, the accused man's side of the story starts with him driving from New York to Texas, where he checked into a hotel. He states that he gave the vehicle in question to an unidentified man, who returned the car the next day. The relationship between the 52-year-old and the unidentified man was not known at the time of news reports.
Indeed, a federal indictment for drug charges in the state of Louisiana does not necessarily lead to conviction. The indictment only means that a federal grand jury has found enough evidence against an accused individual to file formal charges and proceed to trial. The man in this case still has the right to his day in court and to provide further information regarding his side of the story. Although the man may have an uphill battle ahead of him, he is still afforded the presumption of innocence unless or until proven otherwise.
Source: buffalonews.com, "Buffalo man indicted in gun, drug charges," Dec. 19, 2011