Seeing drugs or drug paraphernalia in plain sight may prompt a law enforcement officer to obtain a search warrant. However, in many cases, police fail to take the required step of securing a valid warrant before seizing evidence. When this happens, accused individuals should be aware of their right to suppress any evidence that was seized during an illegal search.

Two Galloway Township men were recently indicted on drug charges related to a home search conducted back in June. The men reportedly shared the residence, where federal and state authorities went to serve warrants to one of the men and another individual.

Police claim that a handgun and some cocaine were in plain sight when officers arrived at the home, and investigators subsequently obtained a search warrant. The search reportedly led to the seizure of a significant amount of cocaine and heroin, along with about $32,000 in cash, a handgun and some hollow-point bullets.

The men are accused of a number of crimes, including drug possession with intent to distribute, illegal possession of a handgun and possession of illegal weapons.

The charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute carries a first-degree status that upon conviction could lead to up to 20 years in prison. Each of the three gun charges carries a second-degree status that could result in a prison sentence of five to 10 years.

Clearly, the stakes are high when a person is accused of crimes related to weapons and drug distribution. Individuals confronted with this kind of situation should be aware of their right to challenge the legitimacy of the search and seizure that led to the charges.

Source: NBC 40, “Two Atlantic County men indicted on first-degree cocaine charge,” Dec. 12, 2013