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18 arrested on drug charges in Rockland County sweep

A big drug sweep in which 18 persons were arrested culminated several months of an investigation by authorities in Rockland County. The accused individuals are facing various drug charges, including selling one or more of the following: cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs like oxycodone. Several small New York towns in the county were targeted by the Rockland County Drug Task Force over the past several months.

The operation appears to have centered on open-air transactions in each of the several targeted towns and villages. Undercover agents purportedly purchased illegal drugs out in the open. Most of the people arrested have substantial prior records of criminal activity, according to the county district attorney's office.

The district attorney also stated that this was part of a continuing campaign to "stop illegal drug dealing" in the county. Of course, the statement ignores the fact that, in the past, every time a drug bust removes certain individuals from the streets, new sources appear quickly to take up the slack. The drug trade is based on a model that tries to fulfill what appears to be unending consumer demand. It is because of that perpetual demand that many critics assail the war on drugs, by pointing out that the source of the problem, i.e., consumer demand, must be met head-on before any long-term progress will be made.

In any event, each accused individual must quickly meet with experienced criminal defense counsel to evaluate the evidence and prepare a defense strategy to the drug charges. It is usually beneficial to engage in that process early in the prosecution. If plea bargaining is a necessity based on overwhelming evidence of guilt under New York law, much can be gained by being the earliest defendant to participate in negotiations.

Source: patch.com, "18 Swept Up in Rockland Undercover Drug Operation", Lanning Taliaferro, July 23, 2015

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