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14 accused of national drug trafficking ring

Indictments were handed down on March 5 to 14 individuals who were allegedly involved in funneling drugs from California to various parts of the country. When the report was released, 12 of those individuals were already in custody. The other two individuals, both of whom were from Pennsylvania, were not being held in custody.

The charges were initially announced against 40 people in October 2014. The number grew to 54 by March. The individuals were accused of trafficking a number of different drugs, including cocaine and heroin, from California to areas in Pennsylvania. It was believed that the drugs were often trafficked through Cleveland. Additionally, it appeared that drugs were also trafficked to North Dakota. An anonymous tip from a North Dakota resident led authorities to one of the accused individuals. The man, who was accused of transporting the proceeds of trafficked drugs from San Bernardino to North Dakota, was stopped by authorities.

This was just one of many cases the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force has been involved in. This task force, which was begun in 2013, has been involved in investigations that have resulted in bringing indictments against more than 100 individuals thought to be involved in drug trafficking rings.

Individuals accused of being involved in a drug trafficking ring potentially face serious punishments that may include significant jail time and fines. However, there are defenses that a criminal defense attorney may utilize to have the charges against their client dropped or reduced. Though the defense strategy will depend upon the specific accusations brought against their client, the attorney could argue that their client was unknowingly a part of the drug trafficking ring, that their client was misidentified or that the accused person was not involved in the drug ring at all.

Source: WESA, "14 indicted in Homewood drug trafficking ring," Jessica Nath, March 5, 2015

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