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Neighborwood watch tip leads to drug-related search warrants

Three Virginia men were taken into custody in Culpeper recently on felony charges that include possession of the drug PCP with the intent to distribute. Law enforcement officials were alerted to the prospect that these men may be involved in the drug trade through tips from members of a neighborhood watch group. Citizen and informant tips represent common ways through which law enforcement officials obtain a search warrant in cases involving drug charges of different types.

Drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, are the most common type of cases pursued in the criminal justice system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The statistics hold true across the United States, including in the commonwealth of Virginia.

In this case, police allegedly recovered scales, crack cocaine and packing believed to be used for narcotics distribution while searching a vehicle identified as one involved in local drug activities. Two of the three men were then taken into custody on charges of with possession with felony intent to distribute cocaine. The third man was taken into custody on Aug. 1 following a search of a Fourth Street residence that allegedly recovered a substance thought to be PCP.

Being taken into custody for drug-related charges is not in itself a conviction. Provided a person in this position asserts his or her rights, including the right to representation by an attorney, strong defenses can be made to the underlying charge.

A skilled Virginia criminal defense attorney could identify and pursue potentially effective defenses in cases like these. These defenses include evaluating whether illegal search and seizure and illegal entry into the premises occurred. Effective defenses can result in reduced charges, admission into a drug diversion program and even a dismissal of a case.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, " Prisoners In 2012 - Advance Counts," July 25, 2013

Source: NBC Washington, "Citizen Tips Lead to Drug Arrests in Virginia", August 02, 2013