Federal law enforcement officials recently arrested numerous people on suspicion of drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Four Californians were charged by federal officials with the money laundering charges and only three of them were charged with conspiring to distribute PCP and methamphetamine. The California residents were arraigned in the Sacramento federal court and they pled not guilty to all of the charges.
Police reports accuse the individuals of intending to traffic the prohibited substances throughout the country and conceal the money they earned from the venture. As is the case with most federal criminal charges, these strict crimes carry stringent penalties if the four are convicted. The drug charges could lead to a life sentence in federal prison and the money laundering charges have a maximum of a 20 year prison sentence.
Investigators will go to great lengths to secure enough evidence to achieve a conviction. In the case of federal drug investigations, the agencies conducting the inquiries have a tremendous amount of resources behind their operations. This does not necessarily mean that evidence gathered against those facing federal drug charges is always flawless. In order for evidence to be admitted in a criminal trial, law enforcement must follow all constitutional guidelines when conducting searches, seizures and arrests.
The defense's pre-trial investigation can sometimes uncover evidence that police did not act appropriately during the course of their investigation and subsequent arrest. Jurors in a criminal trial ultimately decide whether or not the prosecution has proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person has actually committed the crimes for which they have been charged. Knowing that, the success of a criminal defense can come down to how thoroughly the defense team scrutinizes how the evidence in a case is gathered.
Source: San Ramon Express, "San Ramon man among four arrested on drug trafficking, money laundering charges," Mar. 12, 2012