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Police accuse 5 of drug charge of selling illegal drugs

Undercover drug agents in Wyoming County got a good workout over the summer of 2013. Five people were arrested recently for allegedly selling drugs during separate instances to undercover agents in that county this past summer. A drug charge that alleges sales in North Carolina is usually a felony that may require incarceration in a state prison.

From the defense point of view, direct sales to undercover agents are difficult charges to contradict or attack. If the undercover agents are actual police officers that makes it all the more difficult. Where so-called undercover agents are actually street criminals recruited to assist the police, the chance of challenging the testimony and/or attacking the witness' credibility is more feasible.

The undercover agent must testify to purchasing drugs from the defendant, must be able to identify the defendant and describe the details of the transaction. The drugs purchased should be entered into evidence. If all of that occurs, and if there is no constitutional question of overreaching or entrapment by the police, then a conviction could be likely. In some cases like these, however, where there is a delay of six months or more, irregularities can occur simply by the variables associated with the passage of time.

The problem with this kind of case from the defense view, however, is that the usual defense issues of stop, search, and seizure are not generally implicated where there is allegedly a direct person-to-person sale. The need to get a search warrant also does not generally come up under these allegations. These arrests may require plea bargaining for the best possible outcomes. The exception would be in any case where the allegations are simply untrue; that requires a vigorous defense.

Cooperation with North Carolina authorities regarding the illegal holdings usually is a big plus early in the case, and could lead to significant reductions in the drug charge. Additionally, these appear to be small-level sales of small amounts of drugs. They are charged with selling heroin, prescription pills and oxycodone, but apparently in relatively small amounts. If a defendant has a clean prior record under these circumstances, probation or diversionary treatment may be negotiated by experienced criminal defense counsel.

Source: wivb.com, Five arrested in Wyoming County for drug sales, Eli George, Feb. 7, 2014

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