Drug charges in Louisiana can come about in many different ways. Possession and other lesser drug charges can come from a simple traffic stop, when police happen across someone who has drugs in their car. However, drug trafficking charges tend to come after a large investigation.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office recently announced that it had arrested six people in connection with an investigation in to an alleged heroin and prescription drug ring. Authorities said the investigation began in 2010, after four people died from heroin overdoses. According to the Sheriff's Office, authorities noticed that the same kind of heroin was involved in all four deaths.
Police later set up undercover operations to buy drugs from two of the suspects and received warrants to tap their phones. Police said information obtained through the phone surveillance led to them searching several homes and bank safety deposit boxes. Police said they seized more than $10,000 worth of drugs as well as a large amount of cash.
Louisiana prosecutors take drug possession very seriously, but the penalties for drug trafficking are much worse. Drug trafficking and distribution charges involve the selling, transportation and illegal importation of unlawful controlled substances, including some prescription drugs. If police find over a certain amount of a drug in a person's possession, the law presumes that the suspect intended to sell them illegally, and the suspect may face trafficking charges. Moreover, if the person is found with a large amount of cash, the charges will likely include distribution.
Both state and federal laws are involved when people are charged with drug crimes in Louisiana. It's important for those facing these charges to get all the help they need in mounting a defense. It won't be easy, but with the right strategy, they may be able to reduce the charges or even avoid a conviction altogether.
Source: Times-Picayune, "6 people arrested in Baton Rouge heroin, prescription drug sting," Diana Samuels, June 25, 2013