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14 accused of participating in felony drug crimes

Police are investigating a drug trafficking organization they said involved smuggling drugs through California and distributing them throughout the United States. A total of 14 people who are believed to have been involved in the drug crimes have been indicted by a federal grand jury. Eleven of them were taken into custody in the southern part of California as well as in a couple of other states, police said.

The individuals' charges include conspiracy to distribute huge amounts of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and meth. They also allegedly conspired to distribute fentanyl, which is an opiate that is more potent than morphine. During this crackdown, authorities seized several pounds of fentanyl, cocaine and meth and also seized firearms.

The reported drug traffickers apparently imported their drugs from Mexico. The drugs were then smuggled into the California city of San Diego before being sent throughout the country via a network located in the states of California, New York, North Carolina and New Jersey, authorities reported. Officials were particularly concerned about the fentanyl because using even a tiny amount can be fatal, they said.

Although the public in California may be quick to assume that the 14 arrested individuals are guilty of drug crimes, they will remain innocent in the eyes of the law unless and until prosecutors can prove their charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the only way they can be convicted. The individuals can choose to enter a plea agreement with the prosecution in an effort to get more personally favorable charges, or they can simply go straight to court and hope to win their battle against the charges. It is the job of the criminal defense in these individuals' cases to ensure that their rights are upheld during the entire legal process.

Source: NBC San Diego, "14 Charged in Cross-Country Drug Crackdown", Andie Adams, Oct. 29, 2014

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