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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Police find 300 pounds of cocaine in California backyard

Police in California have reported that cocaine with a street value of approximately $8.4 million was recovered during the search of a residence on March 23. A representative from the Orange County Sheriff's Department said that the drugs were found in an underground bunker located in the home's backyard. The search was part of an ongoing investigation involving a dozen law enforcement agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Buena Park, Newport Beach, Tustin, Huntington Beach, Fullerton and Santa Ana police departments.

Police say that they obtained a search warrant to search the property after discovering a large amount of narcotics during a search of a vehicle on California State Route 60. The car had been pulled over as part of the multi-agency investigation according to reports. The vehicle's two occupants, a 24-year-old man and a 38-year-old man, were taken into custody at the scene, but initial reports do not indicate what kind of charges they are facing or whether or not more arrests are anticipated as the case develops.

Media accounts also contain few details about the nature of the investigation that led to the vehicle stop and do not mention if evidence other than narcotics was discovered during the searches. However, the OCSD did reveal that about 140 packages of cocaine had been discovered stacked in the bunker. Each of the plastic-wrapped packages weighed about a kilogram according to reports.

Cases such as this one often hinge on the admissibility of seized evidence and the actions of the police officers involved. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may scrutinize search warrant applications carefully when their clients are accused of committing drug crimes, and they could urge prosecutors to reduce or dismiss narcotics charges when Fourth Amendment protections may have been violated.

Source: Fox 17, "$8.4M in cocaine found in bunker underneath California yard", Tribune Media Wire, March 25, 2018

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