Mississippi law enforcement agencies continue to mount sting operations across the state to track down those they suspect of trafficking drugs. Their most recent operation extended for more than a year, netting dozens of warrants and arrests. Many of those accused of participating in drug crimes have previous criminal records, which is often a starting point in police investigations.
In one county, Operation Clean Sweep involved a police agency’s Special Tactics Investigative Narcotic Group along with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task force. Twenty-five people are facing 31 felony drug charges, including trafficking drugs, drug possession and sale of narcotics. Police reportedly recovered methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other controlled substances, along with eight firearms.
Futures hanging in the balance
Those arrested after the 15-month investigation range in age from 17 to 60 years old. The sheriff refers to them as career criminals and indicated that the results of their investigation would reduce the level of drug trafficking throughout the entire county. It is certain that the previous criminal history of many of those in custody will impact the outcome of their cases should a court convict them of the current charges they face.
Nevertheless, each person accused of drug crimes has the right to a quality criminal defense, part of which includes a review of the investigation and the resulting arrest. The conduct of police before, during and after an arrest is critical. A thorough examination will help to determine whether police collected evidence fairly or if they violated an accused individual’s rights.