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Drug sweep nets over 80 arrests and multiple drug charges

In New York state as well as elsewhere, drug sweeps are generally good for increasing public relations between the community and the police departments involved. However, whether they have an impact on the volume of drug operations is usually difficult to measure. Furthermore, there has generally been no evidence offered that the demand for drugs goes down in the aftermath of mass sweeps resulting in hundreds of drug charges and dozens of arrests. That fact begs the question whether the raids are worth the substantial public resources invested, both in terms of the burgeoning costs of law enforcement and the drain on court operations.

The latest large sweep occurred recently in Westchester County, and including the communities of New Rochelle, White Plains, and Mount Vernon. In all, more than 100 people have been identified for arrest but police say that more than 80 people have been apprehended to date. The sweep went straight to the streets where undercover agents made buys and conducted surveillance. The arrests involve felony charges relating mostly to crack cocaine and heroin.

The operation, called City Sweeper 2, apparently made no pretense about its focus on alleged street-level dealers. None of the arrests purport to have nabbed any drug kingpins or high finance sources. When asked why the large prior drug sweeps did not damper drug sales, the New Rochelle Police Commissioner said that it was "still a lucrative endeavor for people and that's why it's not stopping."

The FBI and DEA joined New York authorities in conducting the investigation and undercover activities that took place over the past seven months. Each defendant will obtain or be appointed separate criminal counsel so that there are no conflicts in representing each individual's interests to the fullest. Criminal defense counsel must learn the facts surrounding the client's arrest in detail, and be vigilant to finding the best defense under the circumstances. In large sweeps, the volume of activity and level of coordination are often disjointed enough that some drug charges turn out to be unsupported by sufficient evidence or even totally mistaken.

Source: lohud.com, "Heroin: Dozens arrested in New Rochelle drug sweep", Jonothan Bandler, Dec. 3, 2014

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