Arrested in a Pittsburgh Drug Bust? Here’s What to Expect
A federal grand jury recently indicted 26 people in a drug trafficking scheme in Western Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney Scott Brady connected alleged members of the gang, ‘Shot Boyz’ to the scheme as well as a number of violent incidents in the Homewood and East Hills areas.
This case was a part of a larger program by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, established in 1982 to investigate money laundering and drug trafficking. John Sleasman, the police chief of Latrobe, wrote the bust would drastically cut back on the amount of heroin and fentanyl coming into Westmoreland County.
While large scale drug arrests are a necessity, they can lead to bystanders being unfairly implicated to a drug bust. This is commonly seen when people struggling with addiction are caught up without knowing the extent of what’s going on.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, our accomplished Pittsburgh drug lawyers realizes how complicated these situations can be and are here to help. If you’ve been indicted, charged or questioned about a crime after a drug bust, call (412) 281-2146 24/7 for a free consultation.
Getting Caught Up in a Drug Bust
How do police and drug enforcement officers learn about drug activity?
The police often receive anonymous tips from community members, officers on the street, informants, and other drug enforcement agencies about suspected drug activities. However, drug charges also result from other ongoing investigations or a “cold hit,” when officers stumble upon drugs or a drug transaction while investigating another crime.
How Are Penalties Determined after a Drug Raid?
Penalties for drug-related charges are determined according to a few key factors: the substance itself, the amount of the substance, what kind of activity the person was engaged in (e.g., using vs. selling), and their prior police record. Repeat offenders of serious drug crimes often receive harsher penalties than first-time offenders.
However, not all drugs are regarded equally. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and addictive, and include drugs like heroin, peyote, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy, and marijuana. Schedule II includes drugs that have proven medical benefits but are still highly addictive, like cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription opioids and stimulants (e.g., OxyContin and Adderall, respectively). Schedule III, IV, and V drugs are all medications with a much lower risk of dependence, like ketamine, steroids, benzodiazepines, Soma, and Tramadol.
The length of jail time after a drug conviction depends heavily on the individual’s previous criminal record. Federal law states that simple drug possession is a misdemeanor that can get first-time offenders up to a year in prison. For subsequent offenses, though, individuals may face felony charges and additional jail time.
As for selling drugs, individuals found guilty of selling drugs face much harsher consequences. In Pennsylvania, possession with the intent to deliver is typically a felony, punishable with years or decades in prison. There are also aggravating factors like selling to minors that can increase the potential penalties.
Aside from PWID, someone arrested in a Pittsburgh drug bust could face charges for:
- Drug Conspiracy
- Drug Trafficking
- Possession or Sale of Precursor Chemicals
- Drug Paraphernalia
Worgul, Sarna & Ness Can Help You
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we understand the consequences of being involved in a drug bust, even if you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. With our understanding of Pennsylvania drug laws, record of having cases dismissed or reduced, and experience finding alternatives to jail in drug cases, we can help find the best way to get your life back on track.
Call us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation. We’ll explain your rights, your best options, and how we can help.