On Jan. 28, two top law enforcement officials made an announcement that two major drug rings had been taken down, and 40 individuals had been indicted. Police conducted two separate investigations, one called Operation TGIF and the other Operation Lockport. Police seized equipment allegedly used in the transport of cocaine, a cache of prescription painkillers, three rifles, $60,000 in cash and $100,000 worth of cocaine in Operation Lockport. All together, 25 people were indicted in connection with the operation.
Operation TGIF focused on a restaurant chef who was allegedly making drug deals while he was at work. Another individual connected with the alleged drug ring is being charged for reportedly organizing cock fights. Fifteen individuals were indicted for various drug offenses in connection with the operation. According to officials, the two networks obtained the drugs from Florida, Boston and New York City and distributed them throughout Western New York. The 40 defendants were arraigned before a State Supreme Court Justice on Jan. 28.
The 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protection to citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. If police officers make an error during the commission of a search warrant, such as searching areas that are outside the scope of the warrant, there may be grounds to challenge the case at trial. The judge and jury may agree that the warrant has been rendered invalid, and the case may be dismissed.
If a defendant chooses to go to trial, there is a risk that he or she may be convicted and given the maximum penalties. One way to avoid this outcome is to accept a plea deal. A plea agreement may be negotiated between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. If an agreement is reached, and the defendant accepts the terms, the case will not move forward to the trial phase.
Source: The Buffalo News, "Authorities crack two Buffalo-area drug rings", Lou Michel, January 28, 2014