Authorities recently charged a man with drug charges which resulted in an indictment. They allege that at the time of his charges he had approximately $5,000 worth of cocaine, a scale, counterfeit money, and $5,241 in cash.
A Baltimore judge has ruled that a double jeopardy defense does not apply to a man facing multiple drug charges. The defendant faces many charges; however, he reportedly pleaded guilty to only one charge in an effort to use double jeopardy as a defense against being tried and potentially convicted of the remaining drug crimes.
Courts can be particularly unforgiving of people who are found guilty of distributing illegal drugs. Deemed a particularly serious drug crime, trafficking recently led to the 45-year sentence handed down to a former Bowie resident. In addition to facing charges for conspiring to distribute large amounts of cocaine, he was also charged with possessing a firearm while the narcotics offenses were committed.Indicted along with 14 other people, including a 39-year-old Silver Spring man and a 32-year-old man from Glenn Dale, he was part of one of the largest drug seizures in the metropolitan area. Along with the prison term, he must also forfeit any assets that were purchased with money obtained through drug trafficking activities. This included more than $200,000 in cash and a diamond engagement ring valued at $9,400.
Maryland residents may be aware that the U.S. Supreme Court decided on March 26 that canines cannot sniff the front door of a residence because it violates the Fourth Amendment rights of those who live there. If law enforcement personnel want to find evidence of drug crimes, they must request a search warrant first. In the case of Florida v. Jardines, the justice for the majority defended the higher standard of protection for a person's residence and called it the "first among equals." The police have the right to knock on the door like any ordinary citizen but may not use canines to sniff around the residence looking for contraband. However, law enforcement can still use canines in drug detection of vehicles, packages and airport luggage.
A 33-year-old man from Anne Arundel County was taken into custody on March 21 for the third time within 90 days. He faces four counts of drug charges, including a charge for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, after law enforcement personnel searched his home. They allegedly found more than 35 grams of marijuana, valued at more than $700, and 1.4 grams of heroin, worth about $170. According to the authorities, he was held with no bond at a detention facility. Police initiated the search after area complaints of possible drug traffic at the residence. In addition to the drugs, officers also reportedly found more than $500 in cash.
A police chase on March 12 ended in the arrest of a 22-year-old woman on drug charges by Maryland police officers. Unfortunately for the woman, the drug charges aren't the only ones that she faces in relation to the incident. The incident began around 8:30 p.m., when police stated that they attempted to pull over the woman's vehicle for having a suspended registration. It was reported by police that the accused refused to stop and instead led the police on a chase through the streets of Laurel. Reports state that the woman eventually brought the vehicular chase to a close when she exited her vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Police were able to apprehend her shortly thereafter.
A man from Crofton is currently in jail and being held without bond after he was arrested on drug charges; this was his third drug-related arrest in three months. The current drug charges stem from items found while officers were executing a search and seizure warrant. The warrant was obtained after repeated complaints of possible drug deals occurring at the man's home. During the search, officers allegedly found 35.6 grams of marijuana with a street value of more than $700. Officers also found 1.4 grams of heroin, worth $170 and $520 in cash. The man was arrested and charged with possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A March 4 mistrial in a case against a 53-year-old business man means the defendant could face yet a fourth trial on charges of trafficking cocaine from D.C. to Mexico. Jurors could not decide on his guilt on the drug charges. The man's case previously went before the Supreme Court in 2012 when the high court reversed a guilty verdict and the accompanying penalties due to the illegal placement of a Global Positioning System on his vehicle to locate him. A previous trial also ended in a hung jury. The defendant represented himself in federal court despite his lack of legal experience. The 11 women and one man deliberated for more than seven days but could not agree on one of the charges. Two of them said they questioned the alleged connection between the defendant and the drug house containing 97 kilograms of cocaine.
A routine traffic stop in Perryville on March 2 led to the arrest of a couple after police found them in possession of a variety of drugs in their vehicle. Law enforcement personnel took a 20-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman into custody. The pair face drug charges for possession of controlled dangerous drugs with the intent to distribute. After the officer allegedly established probable cause, his search yielded 80 baggies or almost 26 grams of a substance believed to be heroin, one bag of nearly 8 grams of cocaine and a baggie of marijuana that weighed about 5 grams. The man faces at least five criminal counts, including possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. He is being held on $50,000 bail. The woman faces three counts including possession of a controlled dangerous substance for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. She is being held on $35,000 bail.
America's war on drugs is full of small battles going on in individual states. Many Maryland residents are aware that voters in Washington state and Colorado elected to legalize marijuana in the last election, though the drug is still illegal under federal law. This discrepancy has created considerable friction between local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as frustration among dispensary owners and users. Other states have legalized medical marijuana only, making the national conversation about this recreational drug all the more confusing -- but also very interesting.