Dozens Arrested in Large Scale Controlled Substances Bust

Following a months’ long investigation by undercover officers, multiple state, county, and local law enforcement agencies simultaneously executed search warrants at eight locations in Harnett County.

The inquiry began after authorities received multiple complaints about drug activity in the area. In the ensuing weeks and months, undercover officers successfully infiltrated several sites, including two in a rural area off Murchistontown Road. During the investigation, the officers purchased significant quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, and prescription drugs, as well as two illegal firearms. These sites consisted of camper-style trailers.

Officers also raided residences on Murchistontown Road, Bargin Lane, Clemons Lane, Obed Olive Road, N.C. 27 West, and Happy Court. Altogether, 32 people are facing 304 charges, including drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, maintaining a drug dwelling, and weapons violations.

Search Warrant Law

For much of the nation’s history, there were virtually no restrictions on state and local law enforcement agencies in the area of searches and seizures. That landscaped changed when the Supreme Court decided Mapp v. Ohio in 1961. In that case, officers asserted that they had a warrant to search Dolly Mapp’s residence for a bombing fugitive. The alleged “warrant” was lost and the aggressive officers seized a number of items unrelated to the original search, including betting slips, an unlicensed weapon, and pornographic materials (which were illegal in Ohio at the time).

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the police violated Ms. Mapp’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

To be legal, a search warrant must be based on probable cause. The probable cause affidavit generally comes from an officer who has personal knowledge of the facts it contains, but warrants are sometimes based on information obtained from a paid informant or an informant who has received a promise of immunity in exchange for testimony.

One famous example occurred in Dallas, Texas in 2001, after police executed warrants on some 50 individuals – most of whom were Mexican immigrants who spoke limited English. An informer, who received about $250,000, claimed the individuals were selling powder cocaine; laboratory tests later proved that the substance was common pool chalk.

The other major requirement is that the warrant specify the nature of the search. If officers have a warrant to look for illegal firearms in a backyard shed, they cannot search the living room for drugs.

Warrantless Searches

Officers do not always need a warrant to seize evidence. Some of the more common exceptions include:

  • Searches incident to lawful arrests;
  • Evidence that is in “plain view;”
  • Consent;
  • Stop and frisk based on reasonable suspicion; and
  • Automobile searches.

The law in this area is essentially a pendulum that swings back and forth, because sometimes the exceptions swallow the rule.

Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorneys

Everyone must follow the rules in a criminal investigation and prosecution, and that includes police officers. For a confidential consultation with assertive defense attorneys in Charlotte, contact Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Convenient payment plans are available.


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While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



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