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Fish trafficking investigation leads to drug charges

Two men who were under investigation for illegal fishing have been charged with drug crimes. California Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel reportedly found marijuana, methamphetamine and thousands of dollars in counterfeit bills while they were investigating the men for unlawful fishing activities.

According to the agency, the men were initially suspected of illegal fish trafficking, not drug trafficking. The men were cited for breaking fishing laws six times beginning in 2015. One of the activities that the men were cited for was using bait to catch protected fish in Central Valley canals. The men allegedly sold the fish that they caught, making between $200 and $300 for each sale.

Investigators reportedly found tens of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana and thousands of dollars worth of meth at two locations. Both of the men were charged with felony sale of methamphetamine along with misdemeanor marijuana charges before they were released on bail. Children were at both of the locations that were searched, and the men are both facing charges of child endangerment as a result. Neighbors who were interviewed after the investigation expressed surprise about the charges.

A person who has been charged for drug offenses after an investigation may argue that investigators used illegal tactics to obtain evidence. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a defendant to look for mistakes that were made by investigators that could make the evidence inadmissible in court. One of the mistakes that investigators sometimes make during investigations is illegally entrapping the subject of their investigation. If investigators strongly pressured the defendant to do something illegal, this could be considered entrapment.

Source: ABC 30, “Illegal fish trafficking bust leads to drugs, counterfeit money in Fresno,” Cory James, Dec. 9, 2016

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.