Clearwater police arrested 29 individuals for alleged drug and gun possession charges. A search warrant was apparently obtained allowing for a SWAT team to raid an undisclosed location just prior to the drug possession arrests taking place. It was claimed that the drug ring trafficked guns and drugs.
Police reportedly seized some 20 grams of crack cocaine, 40 grams of marijuana and 40 grams of hydrocodone during the raid. The search warrant was apparently issued because of purported tips made by anonymous neighbors in an apartment complex.
Though 29 individuals have been charged, this is not the same as suggesting that these individuals are guilty of the charged crimes. Instead, what this does mean is that possible tips from anonymous sources or even alleged co-conspirators are what led to each individual’s arrest.
For whatever charges that are eventually brought to trial, there is still a requirement of probable cause for a search warrant to be issued and arrests to have been made to begin with. Also, for a conviction to be made every charge needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The sheer number of individuals arrested in this matter is noteworthy. It is possible that prosecutors are leveling charges against certain of those arrested in hopes that they will then testify against others that were arrested.
Though charges could likely be dismissed, criminal defense attorneys and their clients will have to fight every charge singularly. Conviction on any of the charges could lead to years of imprisonment for the individuals in question.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Drugs, guns seized, 29 arrested after Largo raid,” April 18, 2013