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Drug crime alleged in drug-free zone

A raid by Texas law enforcement agents from Fort Bend County ended in multiple felony and misdemeanor drug crime allegations against a man, his girlfriend and her 18-year-old son. Police entered the home of the accused individuals to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation into street-level drug trafficking.

Police from the Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force searched the home and seized quantities of marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine. Also seized was evidence that a drug manufacturing and distribution operation was being conducted from the house that is near two elementary schools.

Police accused the 35-year-old man of manufacturing and trafficking in drugs, possession of marijuana, firearms possession and other felony drug charges. His 36-year-old girlfriend is accused of possession of marijuana and other drug charges. The 18-year-old is accused of possession of marijuana.

A felony drug crime conviction can bring serious consequences for the accused individual. Prison, probation and fines are some of the penalties that a judge might impose at sentencing. Texas law increases the penalties for a drug crime committed in an area designated as a Drug-Free Zone. In the case of the Fort Bend County raid, the home's location near a school placed it in a Drug-Free Zone.

Criminal cases involving police searches and the seizure of material that prosecutors intend to use to obtain a conviction might be subject to pretrial defense challenges to procedures used by the police. Criminal defense lawyers investigating the charges against their clients sometimes discover violations of constitutional safeguards against illegal searches and seizures. For example, a search warrant might limit the location or the scope of the police search. Police entry into an area not authorized by the warrant could be lead to a defense motion to suppress the evidence.

Source : Houston Chronicle, "3 Richmond residents face drug charges," April 10, 2013

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