Recently, police in New Springville, New York, recovered a .38 caliber revolver, illegal drugs, and measuring equipment used for the sale and manufacture of drugs during a police raid on a local home. Police arrested three people, a 28-year old woman, a 22-year old woman, and a man.
The raid was allegedly triggered by unspecified “police activity,” and it was likely done to prevent the occurrence of drug dealing or violent crime. In addition to the revolver, police allegedly uncovered a crack pipe, cocaine, and oxycodone on the man, and cocaine, heroin, and a spoon with cocaine residue on it from the women. Police also found a scale and drug packaging material. The defendants were charged with second-degree possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Drug crimes and weapons crimes are often inter-linked, as they are in this case. This is because people involved in drug trafficking or distribution carry weapons as protection against rival drug dealers or to intimidate and threaten anyone who would report their activities to the authorities. This is why illegal gun possession is frequently linked to drug crimes.
For house raids such as this one, police need a warrant to enter into a home and search and seize any contraband, so as not to violate the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. If they do not have a warrant, then the evidence must be within the plain view of the officer, or they must have the consent of a resident to search the home.
Anyone accused of weapons possession is entitled to an aggressive criminal defense and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the constitutional right to question witnesses, challenge the constitutional validity of the search and seizure of the evidence, and question any witnesses provided by the state. The defendant need not submit meekly to the state’s charges, but instead may challenge the charges and defeat the prosecution.
Source: SIlive.com, “Three arrested on gun, drug charges after raid on home in Staten Island’s New Springville section,” John M. Annese, March 12, 2013.