A major Colorado Springs drug bust resulted in the arrests of 19 people, as well as the seizure of two pounds of heroin, three ounces of cocaine, two vehicles, three handguns and $14,500 in cash.
Our Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers know that while that seems like a lot of evidence, the fact is, with this many defendants, it may be tough for prosecutors to prove what belonged to whom and which individuals had the higher-ranking roles in the operation.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the law enforcement agencies involved included both the Colorado Springs Police Department and investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The investigation was kicked off after police began receiving reports from parents that drugs were being sold to teenagers and high school students.
Officials described the arrests as a dismantling of one cell of the operation.
Police officials say heroin sale and use are on the rise, driven perhaps by the increasing difficulty to obtain prescription pills, due to federal and state crackdowns.
In this situation, almost half of those arrested were under the age of 21. One is still a high school student. Most of those selling were also users, police said.
We interpret that to mean that these individuals need help – not jail. Particularly with first-time offenders, we may not be able to completely have the charges dismissed, but there is often a good chance through plea bargaining that charges can be reduced in exchange for a guilty plea and a commitment to enter a drug rehabilitation facility.
The investigation into this case was reportedly began more than a year ago, in May 2011. Undercover detectives spent that entire year making purchases, learning more about the locations and vehicles of the organization and identifying co-conspirators. The assistance of undercover informants was employed regularly.
In early June, investigators arrested five individuals they identified as ringleaders. The following day, they set up a final sting, which was intended to appear as a buy. But when the alleged dealers arrived, they were arrested and handcuffed.
It was also reportedly later learned that four of the individuals arrested had intended to rob the undercover officer (whom they did not realize was a cop). In addition to drug charges, they face charges of attempted robbery and conspiracy.