Drug dragnets are a good public relations tool for local law enforcement authorities, but whether they bring about a lasting reduction in drug trafficking activities in the particular locality is highly questionable due to decades of experience indicating just the opposite. Recently, a drug sweep by New York authorities resulted in 21 arrests on drug charges in the Tompkins County area. Several state agencies joined with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s office in conducting the investigation and the sweep.
The County Sheriff announced the sweep in a news conference, saying that it was the result of a rash of complaints from the community, particularly last summer. Complaints dealt with drug usage, burglaries and car larcenies. The Sheriff indicated that key players were identified by the public in their complaints. Some of the arrests involved the execution of existing warrants against suspects not previously apprehended, including one murder warrant.
Although the Sheriff reported that 33 individuals were identified as drug traffickers, the final number of those arrested and charged was 21. The difference in numbers was not explained and may reflect that evidence was not available against all of those originally identified. The Sheriff lamented a loss of “quality of life” in the community and declared this sweep to be a move in the right direction.
The Sheriff did concede the importance of prevention and treatment in his statement. All of the defendants were apparently between the ages of 22 and 39. A published set of booking photos and addresses indicated that almost all of the suspects were members of racial minorities who resided in economically depressed neighborhoods. Each defendant will obtain or will be appointed separate defense counsel and will benefit from immediate consultation with his or her attorney regarding the drug charges under New York law. Early representation can be effective in preventing various injustices, including pursuit by the authorities of any mistaken or false arrests.
Source: ithacajournal.com, “Drug probe nets 21 arrests in Tompkins County“, Kelsey O’Connor, May 15, 2015