Authorities recently announced that a multi-agency operation to combat
the proliferation of heroin activity in north New Jersey led to the detainment
of some 320 individuals. According to Bergen County prosecutors, the drug
sting was about eight weeks in the making and involved investigators from
Passaic, Sussex, Morris and Bergen counties. Morris County authorities
reported that some 30 local officers contributed a combined 3,000 hours
of work to the anti-heroin effort.
Police reportedly seized 1,200 grams of loose
heroin and 11,794 bags of packaged heroin. Moreover, they shut down two heroin
mills and seized 32 firearms, authorities said.
While 40 of the individuals detained in the operation are suspected of
being heroin dealers, the other 280 are accused of being users. Authorities
said the latter individuals will have access to resources to help them
According to prosecutors, the individuals accused of low-level offenses
might have their cases dismissed if they stay out of trouble for six months.
Most low-level offenders in Bergen County see their cases deferred to
a municipal court for adjudication, according to authorities. However,
irrespective of the charges they face, the accused have the right to retain
a criminal defense attorney and contest the charges.
During a large-scale drug sweep like this one, law enforcement officers
must abide by specific procedures according to their respective department's
policies and consistent with the Constitution of the United States. If
police cannot articulate a valid reasonable cause for performing searches
and seizures on the accused individuals, the defense lawyers might argue
for the cases to be dismissed, citing rights violations. Moreover, the
attorneys may scrutinize all of the reports and evidence stemming from
the cases for inaccuracies, contradictions and contamination, the presence
of which may invalidate the prosecution's case.
Source: NJ.com, "Hundreds arrested in North Jersey anti-heroin effort, Bergen prosecutor says", Noah Cohen, June 04, 2014