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14 individuals charged in a massive drug scheme

Maryland has severe consequences for criminal drug convictions. Many sentences involve hefty fines and lengthy jail time. Recently, prosecutors filed charges against 14 people for an alleged drug distribution network, which involved purchasing cocaine in Baltimore, Maryland, for resale in Altoona, Pennsylvania. If convicted, the individuals stand to lose a lot.

Prosecutors claim that the operation dealt about $2 million worth of drugs last year. Authorities allege that the group sold approximately five pounds of drugs a week. A grand jury report documented the phone calls, meetings and drug-purchasing trips to Baltimore. The group packaged and sold the drugs at a bar in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The bar was seized when search warrants were executed in late 2011.

Authorities say that they found an ounce of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a scale inside the owner's office in the bar. In an upstairs room, they also found wrappers for five pounds of cocaine, two digital scales, cutting agents and a cocaine press.

A lawyer of one of the defendants plans to file suppression motions to challenge the legality of wiretaps involved in the preliminary investigation. In challenging criminal allegations, it is important to examine all aspects of the circumstances that led to the arrest. Many people forget that police and undercover investigators make mistakes. In the context of this case, if any Fourth Amendment rights were violated and proper search and seizure rules were not followed, evidence may be suppressed against the defendants.

You do not want to face the troubling repercussions of a drug conviction. If you are confronted with drug allegations, you may want to retain a well-informed attorney. A lawyer can ensure that your criminal justice protections are adequately honored.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "14 accused in Baltimore-to-Altoona cocaine network," March 2, 2012.

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