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Authorities accuse 8 people of smuggling drugs into jail

An effort that included two California state agencies led to the arrest of eight people in Watsonville, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz County. After an investigation that spanned months, law enforcement suspected the people of belonging to a gang and conspiring to smuggle pot, tobacco and cocaine into the Santa Cruz County Jail.

A representative from the Watsonville Police Department said that the agencies obtained search warrants for multiple homes and conducted raids. Searches by law enforcement resulted in the confiscation of three handguns, a shotgun and a rifle. Police said that they also found numerous items that they labeled as related to gang activities.

After arresting eight individuals, authorities charged them all with gang conspiracy to bring drugs into a correctional facility. Five suspects have since been released from custody, but three remain in jail. Records at the jail indicated that high bails ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 need to be posted to secure their releases.

People who are facing drug charges such as possession, manufacturing or trafficking could experience serious consequences if convicted. A criminal defense attorney could provide information to help a person understand the severity of possible penalties. This advice might allow a person to make an informed decision between going to trial or pursuing a plea bargain. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney might gain a dismissal or reduction of charges if the evidence appears insufficient. A search and seizure that violated the defendant's constitutional rights might also provide an opportunity for an attorney to request a dismissal of the charges.

Source: The Mercury News, "8 suspected gang members arrested in drug-smuggling scheme at Santa Cruz County Jail", Michael Todd, July 21, 2017

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