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Authorities detain hundreds on heroin charges

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 battle addiction.

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:, "Hundreds arrested in North Jersey anti-heroin effort, Bergen prosecutor says", Noah Cohen, June 04, 2014