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Drug crimes the subject of large dragnet by feds and state cops

The federal prisons are filled with individuals from Michigan and elsewhere who have been convicted of drug charges. Many of these persons are serving draconian sentences for drug crimes under unrelenting federal sentencing guidelines. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the guidelines are not mandatory, the federal district court judges continue to pay homage to the steep guidelines sentencing frameworks.

Federal law also imposes steep mandatory minimum sentences in many drug prosecutions. A recent set of raids in Saginaw illustrates the aggressive enforcement efforts of state and federal authorities to keep up the pressure on allegedly high-level drug dealers. A total of 19 people were reportedly arrested by federal and state law enforcement officers as part of an ongoing federal and state investigation. Officials would not, however, release the details of their ongoing investigation.

In an unusual development, authorities said that they had released 18 of the 19 suspects. The 18 were all facing state charges, and they were released without arraignment and pending further investigation, which seems to be a questionable procedure that may be subject to attack. The sole person facing federal charges has been arraigned in federal court, per a federal spokesperson. That person was arraigned on six felonies relating to cocaine and heroin trafficking.

A federal law enforcement spokesman stated that the investigation was part of ATF's mission of fighting violent crime. A Michigan state police representative said that the state suspects were taken in on parole violations and suspected drug crimes. The state is awaiting lab reports prior to filing arrest papers against the 18 suspects. That appears to be a borderline procedure subject to abuse by the authorities. Experienced criminal defense counsel will compel the authorities to follow the technical letter of the law where these kinds of irregularities appear in a large dragnet operation.

Source: mlive.com, "Ongoing ATF investigation nets 19 arrests in Saginaw", Michael Kranzs, July 28, 2017

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