The legalization of recreational marijuana in California has led many people to seek expungements of drug-related criminal records. In San Francisco, the district attorney announced on Feb. 25 that the automated clearance of eligible cases had been achieved. A total of 9,362 convictions had been sealed, and some cases reached back as far as 1975.
An 18-year-old man, who until recently attended the University of California Santa Cruz, could face decades in prison if convicted on charges of selling cocaine and methamphetamine. Undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security allege that he built a mobile phone application called Banana Plug that enabled the sale and distribution of various recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine, molly and mushrooms. He paid bail to obtain his release ahead of his next court appearance.
On Jan. 25, California authorities arrested a 26-year-old man for allegedly committing armed robbery, stealing a vehicle, leading police on a car chase and possessing methamphetamine. The incident took place in Humboldt.
A 31-year-old California man has been sentenced to state prison for two years for selling cocaine out of his home. He pleaded guilty to multiple charges in December and was sentenced on January 3. Apparently, the plea agreement did not dismiss any of the charges.
California residents may be familiar with the concept of civil forfeiture. When a person commits a crime, authorities may take assets that were used in the commission of that crime. However, the value of the items may need to be taken into consideration when imposing such a punishment. In the case of Timbs v. Indiana, a man had his $42,000 Range Rover taken from him after allegedly selling heroin to undercover police officers.
A new law in California will make it easier for residents with marijuana convictions to have their records expunged or to request a reduction of their sentences. Assembly Bill 1783 promises to streamline a process that has previously been difficult.
On Sept. 4, a 30-year-old California man was arrested on suspicion of drugged driving and possession of illegal substances in Redwood City. He has three prior DUI convictions.
Federal agents used multiple search warrants to conduct a sweep in August against alleged gang members believed to be trafficking drugs throughout Los Angeles County. Across Inglewood, Hawthorne and Los Angeles, agents searched locations such as a convenience store where authorities said that gang members refined cocaine into crack and distributed it throughout the area. The early morning searches resulted in the arrest of 10 people suspected of belonging to the 92 Osage Legend Crips gang that operates in California.
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the police in Salinas as the department raided six locations. Police arrested seven individuals, including a 24-year-old man dubbed the "Cocaine Cowboy" who had been arrested a month earlier at the California Rodeo Salinas. Law enforcement claim to have recognized him as a known gang member and reportedly found cocaine in his cowboy boot during that arrest.
California resident and victims' rights advocate Henry T. Nicholas III was taken into custody on Aug. 9 after police in Las Vegas allegedly discovered large amounts of illegal drugs in his hotel room. Reports indicate that the 59-year-old entrepreneur and his female companion are both facing drug trafficking charges. Nicholas earned his fortune in the technology sector before championing victims' rights legislation. The laws he advocated for are named after his late sister, a college student who was killed by a former boyfriend in 1983.