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Raid of "drug house" may net little or no drug crimes

A raid of a private California home in Encinitas for drugs and drug activities should be based on a fresh investigation and on solidly supported reasonable cause. A search warrant should never be issued on the basis of mere speculation or unreliable informants. Where the raid is based on unidentified phone calls reporting suspected drug crimes and drug activities, without supportive evidence or solid reliability, those circumstances could arguably be insufficient justification for the issuance of a search warrant.

These questions may arise in the case of a recent raid of a private home by a sheriff's Swat team. The team executed a search warrant to enter and search a large home on Rancho Encinitas Drive, which authorities allege to be a large drug house. However, despite seizing some of the occupants on alleged outstanding warrants and others on nebulous charges, it is unclear whether the squad seized any actual illicit drugs in return for their extensive efforts.

The noticeable failure to find a quantity of drugs is a fact that may be asserted by defense counsel to negate the legitimacy of the search warrant. Notwithstanding that failure, the authorities did make several arrests. They arrested a man who was allegedly wanted in a felony stalking case. They arrested a female occupant on suspicion of drug possession. Another man was arrested for allegedly furnishing a drug house.

Three other occupants were apprehended on allegations of being accessories to a crime. Those kinds of nebulous charges are perhaps to be expected in a failed effort to find large quantities of drugs and drug crimes activities. Each of the defendants will need to obtain a California criminal defense attorney or receive one by court appointment. Depending on what facts further emerge, it may be that a strong early area of inquiry is whether the search warrant should have been granted in the first place. 

Source: Encinitas, CA Patch, "Suspected Encinitas Drug House Yields Arrests", Mirna Alfonso, Dec. 23, 2015

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