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U.S. attorneys link 11 Missouri residents to drug conspiracy

A federal grand jury has indicted 11 Missouri residents for drug possession, drug possession with the intent to distribute, and conspiracy to distribute drugs. The 22-count indictment was handed down on Dec. 12 and unsealed on Jan. 13 after the suspects were taken into custody. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, the suspects conspired to distribute approximately 10 kilograms of heroin and 150 kilograms of methamphetamine worth about $1.7 million between January 2017 and December 2019.

The individuals taken into custody also face weapons charges and have been accused of conspiring to launder money. Police officers and federal agents seized 77 firearms during the investigation. Initial reports reveal that 69 of the guns were found in the Kansas City home of a 30-year-old man who has been linked to two shootings.

DNA evidence is compelling, but not perfect

Prosecutors in Missouri and around the country tend to be fairly confident when forensic scientists can link a suspect to the crime they allegedly committed using deoxyribonucleic acid analysis, but DNA can also be used by defense attorneys to exonerate individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. The cells of every living organism contain DNA, and analyzing it can link tissue samples with the organism they came from with incredible accuracy.

DNA analysis was first performed in the 1980s using the restriction fragment length polymorphism technique, but the polymerase chain reaction method is more commonly used today as much smaller sample sizes can be used. When DNA tests are performed correctly, the likelihood of a mistaken identification is extremely small. While there is still some academic debate on the issue, most scientists believe that the chances of two individuals who are not identical twins having the same DNA is about one in a billion.

The uptick in high drivers is worrisome to law enforcement

Kansas residents may already be aware of the impact that driving while high is having on public health. In 2018, it was estimated that approximately 12 million Americans drove while high. This compares to 20.5 million people who drove while drunk.

A survey was done on approximately 48,000 people during 2018. About 4.7% of the people in the survey who were over the age of 16 admitted that they had driven while high on marijuana. Across the country, an estimated 2.3 million people have admitted to driving while on under the influence.

When do you obtain the right to an attorney?

Everyone has seen legal dramas on T.V., and they almost all understand that the police inform those who are arrested of their right to an attorney. That's true in real life, too. Anyone who is being accused of a crime does have a right to an attorney being present during official questioning or trial.

The United States protects those who are accused by making sure that everyone can have access to an attorney. If you cannot afford to work with an attorney on your own, then the court can generally appoint one to your case. 

Racial disparity seen in jails and prisons throughout America

The racial disparity in jails and prisons in Missouri and throughout America went down significantly between 2000 and 2016. In 2000, a black person was 15 times more likely to be an inmate than a white person. However, in 2016, a black person was only five times more likely than a white person to be in a state jail or prison. This was largely attributed to the fact that there was a significant drop in the number of people sent to jail or prison for drug crimes.

Furthermore, the report published by the Council on Criminal Justice found that the racial gap was closing among those on probation and obtaining parole. As of 2016, there were six black men in jail or prison for every white male in custody. There were two black women in custody for every white woman in a jail or prison in 2016.

Marijuana found near Missouri elementary school

Police seized what they described as a significant quantity of marijuana on Nov. 19 about a block away from a Belton elementary school. A Belton Police Department representative said the drugs had been packaged in a manner that suggested they were to be distributed. One individual was taken into custody in connection with the seized drugs. Criminal charges against the man are said to be pending.

The marijuana was discovered when BPD officers executed a search warrant at a residence on East Pacific Drive. Initial media reports do not reveal what may have led police to believe that the home contained drugs. The seized marijuana has been sent to a police laboratory for analysis according to the BPD.

Police believe girl found with meth may be a trafficking victim

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has reported that a routine traffic stop on the morning of Oct. 29 led to the discovery of more than five pounds of a substance believed to be methamphetamine. The drugs were found in two packages that had been taped to the body of a 15-year-old girl. The 22-year-old California woman behind the wheel of the vehicle faces a raft of charges including drug trafficking and endangering the welfare of a minor. Police think the girl may be a human trafficking victim.

A MSHP trooper initiated the traffic stop on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in the vicinity of Missouri Route 13 after allegedly observing a Jeep SUV following other vehicles too closely. The deputy says that he became suspicious and searched the vehicle after detecting the odor of marijuana. The female driver of the vehicle and her 15-year-old female passenger were transported to a Higginsville Police Department facility for questioning after marijuana and drug paraphernalia were allegedly discovered in the SUV.

Can you refuse a police search?

You were traveling to see a friend when you saw the familiar glow of flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. You pulled over for the officer, but you were going the speed limit and didn't have any idea why they'd want to stop you.

When the officer reached your door, they stated that they saw you had a light out and wanted to tell you. You were grateful to know and told them you'd have it replaced in town, and they were happy to let you off with a warning.

Missouri drug sweep leads to 22 arrests

A major law enforcement operation in Missouri on Oct. 2 led to the arrest of 22 individuals and the seizure of drugs, weapons, cash and drug packaging materials according to court documents. Two of the individuals taken into custody have been charged with illegally possessing firearms. The other 20 individuals arrested are alleged to have been involved in drug trafficking activities in the Kansas City area. Two of them also face charges of maintaining a property to manufacture and distribute narcotics.

About 200 local state and federal law enforcement officers and agents took part in the operation. Search warrants were executed at several Kansas City residences that led to the discovery and seizure of about 350 grams of heroin and undisclosed quantities of marijuana and cocaine. Approximately $75,000 in U.S. currency and 23 guns were also seized. Evidence of drug trafficking discovered by officers and agents included digital scales, packaging materials and ledger books allegedly containing details of narcotics transactions.

6 people arrested after drug bust in Miller County

Six Missouri residents were arrested on drug charges on Sept. 19, according to a news release issued by the Miller County Sheriff's Office. The arrests took place in Mount Pleasant.

News reports indicate that deputies from the sheriff's office and the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at an area home. During the ensuing search, they allegedly found a large quantity of suspected drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, prescription pills, and marijuana. They also reportedly seized a stolen motorcycle and an illegal handgun.

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I don't stop working just because it's after 5 p.m. My clients can always reach me after hours and on weekends. I also visit clients in jail when necessary. I keep my rates affordable because I know, when facing a criminal charge, you can't afford not to have a criminal defense lawyer. Contact me, criminal defense attorney Andrew Christie, today at 816-533-3456 to schedule a free consultation.

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