Two men in the city were recently accused of serious drug crimes. Police claim to have seized a large amount of evidence, though whether a search warrant was properly obtained may be an issue worth bringing up in the suspects’ defense.

Authorities had apparently been conducting surveillance on a home in Queens. The police claim they witnessed one of the suspects carrying trash bags out of the residence and putting them in an SUV. These bags contained pieces of tires, so it is unclear at this point what probable cause the police had for raiding the home. A raid did occur, however, and after searching the residence, police allegedly found over 18 pounds of cocaine, which authorities claim was stored largely in two separate places: in an oven and in a dresser.

Officers also contend they found a number of other items connected with drug activity, including $70,000 in cash, a digital scale, a solution that is sometimes used to dilute cocaine, razors and respirator masks. According to officials, cocaine was also hidden in other random areas throughout the house.

A local news report indicates that the suspects, who are 30 and 51 years old, were arraigned in court in Manhattan on charges of drug possession and using drug paraphernalia. Given the amount of cocaine that was apparently seized, the men could face additional charges.

Despite the severity of the crimes with which these men are charged, police still have an obligation to abide by certain laws pertaining to the rights of the accused. That means search warrants have to be properly obtained, and police must have probable cause to engage a suspect.

There is also this basic aspect of criminal justice in our country: every person who is accused of a crime deserves a chance to answer the allegations and present a strong criminal defense.

Source: New York Post, “Organized crime: ‘Coke den’ neat freaks’ closet stash,” Beth Defalco and Jamie Schram, June 5, 2012