In most cop movies or detective fiction novels, the protagonist and his or her team of FBI agents attempt to catch the drug-dealing bad guys and lock them away for good. In reality, most of these “bad guys” are not as nefarious as the movies or television make them out to be. In many cases, individuals accused of drug crimes get mixed up with the wrong crowd or are forced to join a gang to support their families. After an undercover investigation, police recently arrested 15 New Jersey residents for various drug crimes after seizing $20,000 worth of cocaine and heroin.

“Operation Double Threat” is what police called their latest undercover operation to unravel a New Jersey drug ring. The operation started by having undercover police officers go to various residences of the accused in order to buy cocaine and heroin until they had gathered enough evidence to issue a search warrant. After searching many of the vehicles and residences of the accused, police said they discovered at least $8,000 worth of cocaine and $14,000 worth of heroin. They arrested nine individuals, accusing them of arranging to buy narcotics, and six others on suspicion of selling and supplying drugs.

Eleven out of the 15 accused are in their 20s and could face some very serious consequences that could greatly hinder any chance of their success in the future. In New Jersey and elsewhere, drug crimes have the potential to devastate one’s life. Finding housing, acquiring student loans and getting jobs after a major drug conviction can be very difficult. Many convictions lead to time behind bars, but there may be ways to avoid significant jail time in some cases.

For some drug crimes, individuals can participate in a pretrial intervention program, which focuses more on relinquishing the drug abuse habits than on punishment. The program usually includes community service and drug intervention services. This program is typically available only to some first-time offenders, but with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, drug offenders can use this opportunity to change their lives for the better.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Prosecutor: Undercover investigation nets 15 arrest, 3 guns, more than $20K in drugs,” Bill Wichert, April 17, 2013