The DEA along with the local Sherriff’s Department started a joint investigation of what was believed to be to be a cocaine trafficking organization. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the investigation focused on a local restaurant and its owner. The investigators believed that the owner of the restaurant was the leader of the organization that purchased powder cocaine and crack as well as marijuana (marijuana possession). These suspicions were confirmed when confidential informants made several drug purchases at the restaurant. The owner refused to sell to one of the informants, but his son sold to the informant and the owner watched the transaction take place.
The task force began to accumulate evidence against the owner of the restaurant as well as many of his customers over the years. Several individuals were arrested in the central part of the state for possession of numerous controlled substances and identified the restaurant as where they received the drugs.
After a while participants in the drug ring started to turn on the organization. A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said the first individual told officials that crack cocaine was dealt at the restaurant and the main person was the owner. He told officers that he along with another man, and the girlfriend of the owner worked directly for the restaurant owner. Other people came forward and confirmed this story.
At the end of the investigation the government indicted the restaurant owner and eleven others on various charges covered in a 14 count indictment. Most of the charges were drug related there was no count of the indictment that specified the amount of drugs that each charged defendant was responsible for.
Many individuals that were on the indictment agreed to plead guilty in exchange for their testimony against the remaining conspirators. There were only five left with charges by the time the case went to trial.
At the end of the trial the jury found three of the defendants guilty of conspiracy to possess crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. The owner of the restaurant was found guilty of maintaining a place for the unlawful distribution of crack cocaine.
Individual sentencing hearings were held by the trial judge. The owner was found to be responsible for over 50 grams of crack and because he had been convicted twice before on felony drug charges he was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison.
Case Discussion and Decisions
The owner of the restaurant is arguing that there is not sufficient evidence to support the conviction and the sentences that the trial court set. He states that the state failed to prove that he was laundering money. He also argues that the state did not have enough evidence to prove the drug charges. The other defendants argue the same in regard to the drug charges.
The court has reviewed the matter at hand and it is determined that there is more than enough evidence provided in the case to confirm all of the convictions and sentences that were provided by the trial court. All of the convictions and sentences in the case are upheld.
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