Houman Fakhimi

Los Angeles Drug Raid Produces $100 Million Worth of PCP

Fox News is reporting that $100 million worth of the drug PCP was seized and two suspects were arrested recently after Los Angeles law enforcement agencies worked on a drug trafficking operation.

Newport Beach drug crimes can lead to serious penalties, depending on many factors. For one, the type of drug influences the potential charges the state may try to file. The location of the drugs -- near a school or church -- the amount and the defendant's criminal history all play a role.

But as Newport Beach criminal defense lawyers know well, when law enforcement officers attempt to make arrests in large-scale drug cases, they must have all their I's dotted and T's crossed. When making these major allegations, the state must have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that every person is involved.

In any type of large-scale operation, knowledge that a crime is being committed is an important element, as is proof connecting one person to a larger scheme. Individual drug crimes are typically treated less seriously than organized schemes and trafficking operations. A drug sale and a drug trafficking case is a big difference.

In this case, authorities are calling it a drug trafficking operation, one that stretched across the country. A local group of officers called the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Apprehension Crime Task Force worked on the case. They announced the arrests of a man and woman recently, Fox News reports.

LA IMPACT officers said they found gallons of PCP, also called phencyclidine in the possession of the suspects when they were arrested. When agents obtained search warrants, Fox News reports, officers raided several houses and storage facilities. They found 130 gallons of PCP - enough to produce about 10 million individual doses of the drug. The street value is typically $10 a dose.

Officers said they were able to seize $389,000 in cash, two weapons and other chemicals that could have been used to make another 500 gallons of the drug. Authorities are calling this the largest PCP seizure they have ever come across.

Authorities are calling the two suspects major players in a drug trafficking operation that is operating from Los Angeles to Texas, Washington D.C. and New York. The investigation lasted about a month, Fox News says.

This is obviously a large-scale operation that has many more people involved than just two in Los Angeles. It's possible, even, that these two defendants are small players in a larger operation. They could have simply been holding the chemicals for someone else.

In any drug case that involves a search warrant, every aspect of the case must be scrutinized. The wording of these documents is extremely important because if detectives deceive or mislead the judge who signed the warrant, police could lose out on the evidence they collected. In a case like this, that would make it tough for the state. If detectives don't have much evidence - only a "hunch" that a crime is being committed - that isn't enough to obtain a warrant.