California was one of three states in which hundreds of officers took suspects into custody in connection with the distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. According to law enforcement, which also detained people in Oregon and Pennsylvania, the sweep followed an investigation of a massive prison and street gang operation that used social media to sell drugs.
The investigation began when officials found a cellphone that had been smuggled into a California state prison. Based on information obtained from the phone, law enforcement began wiretap surveillance of social media accounts. Defendants allegedly primarily used Snapchat but also Instagram and Facebook. Authorities say the street gang members working with gang leaders in prison who had smuggled cellphones.
A total of 39 federal search warrants were served along with 30 parole and probation searches. According to authorities, two inmates at Pelican Bay Prison, 18 people indicted during earlier investigations and several others were taken into custody. Reportedly, more than 50 empty bottles of codeine syrup. over $71,000 in cash, hundreds of pounds of marijuana and 34 weapons were also seized. A number of the defendants have past drug and weapons convictions.
Charges related to drug trafficking and possession can be serious. A person facing these types of charges might want to discuss a strategy for defense with the attorney. The person might want to plead not guilty and go to trial. If the person’s rights were violated during the investigation or when the person was taken into custody, some or all of the charges might be dismissed. A person might also opt for a plea bargain. This is a deal with prosecution that allows the person to plead guilty to lesser charges and usually get a lighter sentence.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “A cellphone found in prison leads to huge bust of gang selling drugs on Snapchat“, Sam Stanton, Feb. 14, 2018