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Drug Crimes

December 2, 2008

UNLIKE ROUTINE BORDER INSPECTION, REASONABLE SUSPICION REQUIRED TO SEARCH A PASSENGER’S CABIN ABOARD CRUISE SHIP

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Depending on the circumstances of the search and seizure, the government must show they had reason to search based on a finding of either probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Conducting a search of a person’s home generally requires probable cause; in order to obtain a search warrant. Court’s have held that a person’s temporary abode, such as a hotel room, also requires the...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes, Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

November 4, 2008

Harsher Penalties for Manufacturing a Controlled Substance than Simply Possessing the Same Quantity, Upheld By Pennsylvania Superior Court

Lancaster County Police were responding to a noise complaint when they found the defendant, Shawn Van Aulen, outside of his apartment with a bag of marijuana in his hand. The officers conducted a search of the defendant, finding a glass smoking device and a marijuana grinding device as well. Following the search, the officers requested, and were granted, permission to enter the apartment for the purpose of discussing the noise complaint with the remaining occupants. Upon entering the apartment, the officers found six or seven people in the living room. The officers were permitted to...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

October 9, 2008

New Jersey Man Sentenced to Six-Years in Federal Prison for Role in Heroin Ring

A Pennsauken, New Jersey resident was sentenced earlier this week for his role in a Philadelphia area heroin ring in 2005 and 2006. The heroin sold by Castellar and his associates was laced with a powerful painkiller, fentanyl, which caused over 100 deaths in the Philadelphia region due to overdose. The operation was run out of a rented house in Pennsauken. Castellar admitted to selling the spiked heroin in bulk to dealers, as well as in smaller quantities to drug users and addicts. Castellar and his six associates came to the attention of authorities in 2006, when a naked man was spotted...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

October 7, 2008

Pennsylvania Superior Court Upholds Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Man Convicted on Multiple Counts of Drug Trafficking

A man convicted, after pleading guilty to six-counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver (“PWID”) and criminal conspiracy, appealed his sentence to the Pennsylvania Superior Court on the basis he was not advised that his convictions were subject to Pennsylvania mandatory minimum statutes. The appellant, Michael Rush, was sentenced to concurrent terms of seven to fourteen years for each PWID count and concurrent terms of five to ten years for each criminal conspiracy count; an aggregate sentence of twelve to twenty-four years in prison. The trial court applied...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

September 17, 2008

New Jersey Governor Amends State’s Comprehensive Drug Reform Act to Allow Discretion for Suspension of Driving Privileges

New Jersey’s Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987 stated in part that based on criminal history, the extent of the offense, and other criteria, a person could be sentenced to a term of probation if found guilty or if he/she plead guilty to a drug offense. Under the original legislation, such a sentence would have required the judge to suspend the defendant’s driving privileges for a period of 6-months to 2-years. As a result of changes in drug laws last year, the New Jersey legislature authorized judges to forego the suspension of a driver’s license if the defendant could demonstrate...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes