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California and federal forces increasingly target drug trafficking

Increasingly, federal officials are joining with California police agencies to prosecute drug trafficking and other drug-related activities. California authorities are said to bring knowledge of the local territory, while federal investigators bring the resources and the power of federal courts. In one such combination of efforts, a number of alleged gang members were recently arrested in California.

The combination of California and federal police actions resulted in 22 arrests. More than 400 local and federal officers served warrants at more than 20 locations in California. The secret operations ended last month, as authorities alleged that a member of a gang agreed to sell 10 pounds of methamphetamine and four kilograms of cocaine to undercover agents for $200,000. Three alleged gang members were arrested, and a total of six people were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and sell firearms without a license.

Two federal agencies that California police often work with are the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. For example, that combination of law enforcement played a role in an investigation that led to the arrest last year of alleged heroin trafficker José Antonio Medina Arreguin in Mexico. A spokesman for the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California said that, over the years, task force operations involving several agencies have become common in prosecuting drug trafficking.

When numerous law enforcement organizations work together to gather evidence, the charges that follow are often intimidating for the accused. Police and federal agents do everything in their power to build a case that will result in conviction, and drug trafficking convictions under federal law can be quite severe. Being the target of a federal investigation or prosecution can seem as if the world has turned against you. But it is important to remember that everyone who is facing drug trafficking or other federal charges is provided certain protections under the law. It is vital that persons suspected of committing federal drug crimes are adequately prepared to defend themselves in a federal court.

Source: vcstar.com, "Federal, local agencies team up to battle gangs, drugs," Cindy Von Quednow, Nov. 24, 2011

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