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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

FBI statistics show drug arrests on the rise

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report indicates that the number of drug arrests increased nationwide in 2016 by 5.63 percent. Law enforcement agencies reported upwards of 1.5 million arrests for the violation of drug laws during that year, many of which occurred in Texas. More than 1.33 million of those arrests, accounting for 84.6 percent of the total, were for drug possession. Approximately 41 percent of the arrests were related to marijuana, the overwhelming majority of which were for marijuana possession.

The rising numbers of drug arrests are difficult to square with public opinion. According to a report from the Drug Policy Alliance, there is a growing consensus among Americans that people who otherwise obey the law should not be arrested or put in jail for simple drug possession or use. Moreover, the enforcement of drug laws reveals ethnic and racial disparities. Black people, for example, make up 13 percent of the nation's population but account for 29 percent of the drug arrests. This is despite the fact that they use drugs at similar rates as other racial and ethnic groups.

Pilot sentenced to 3 years in prison, must forfeit plane

On Sept. 25, it was reported that a Texas pilot was sentenced to three years in prison for smuggling drugs across state lines. Further, the 65-year-old man was ordered to surrender his 1969 Piper Comanche and pay a fee of $5,000.

According to investigators, the pilot was flying from Oregon to Arizona in March when his flight pattern raised suspicions. He was taken into custody at Llano Municipal Airport after landing late at night. During a search of his single-engine plane, investigators said more than 200 pounds of marijuana was seized. The investigators said that the pilot had attempted to land at two other small airports, but he took off due to officers being present. The man pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana in June.

Cite-and-release policy creates more criminal records

With marijuana becoming legal in some other states, it is important for Texas residents to know where it is not legal: Texas. While the criminalization of marijuana may change in upcoming years, it is still a crime to possess even small amounts of marijuana.

The cite-and-release policies of cities like Dallas may inadvertently mislead some defendants into a false sense of security when charged. This policy allows the officer to issue a citation for small amounts of marijuana under certain circumstances and then release the defendant as opposed to bringing them to jail for processing.

Drug charges can carry significant sentences

Texas residents who have been arrested or charged with drug dealing or sales offenses may be upset and confused about their next steps. These types of criminal charges can be related to the alleged sale or attempted sale of any form of illegal controlled substance. Some of these substances can include heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, and marijuana.

Drug dealing or sales charges are more limited than drug trafficking charges, which can be related to any part of the supply chain of the illegal drug market. At times, charges related to drug dealing may be classified as possession with intent to distribute.

1,485 pounds of marijuana found following police chase

On Sept. 7, a Texas man was taken into custody and charged with possession of marijuana and other offenses after he reportedly led police on high-speed chase. Authorities were tipped off to the 24-year-old man at about 6 p.m.

During the call, the police were reportedly told that the man was transporting bundles of marijuana in his van. They spotted the vehicle near the intersection of McPherson and Calton roads in Laredo. When they attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the van, the driver reportedly refused to stop and kept driving at a high speed for several blocks. On the 900 block of San Jose Street, the vehicle struck a pole and a fence before continuing southbound.

3 accused of marijuana, Xanax possession

On Aug. 30, three Texas men were taken into custody after the police executed a search warrant at a residence they were in. During the execution of the search warrant, the police reportedly found a number of different drugs, including marijuana, MDMA and Xanax.

During the search of the residence, which was located in the 3000 block of College Drive in Texarkana, police recovered more than three pounds of marijuana in addition to the other drugs. Police also recovered a .45 caliber pistol and a set of digital scales that were thought to be associated with drug trafficking.

Understanding reasonable suspicion and DWI stops

When it comes to matters related to driving while intoxicated, Texas motorists do not have to worry about checkpoints, as they are illegal under most circumstances. However, the same cannot be said about reasonable suspicion.

Texas is one of about a dozen states where law enforcement agencies are generally not allowed to establish checkpoints solely for the purpose of checking for drivers who may be under the influence, but this does not hinder the ability of police officers to justify traffic stops for the purpose of investigating potential drunk driving situations.

What to do after a DUI arrest

Drivers need to be aware of how much alcohol they consume before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, alcohol-related crashes are most likely to occur between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. 

A DWI arrest is an unnerving experience. Many people have no idea where to start or what their rights are. There are certain actions to take within the first few days to enhance the likelihood of getting the charges dropped in court. 

Man facing drug charge after marijuana seized

On Aug. 12, a Texas state trooper reportedly seized more than 200 pounds of marijuana after pulling a vehicle over for a traffic violation. The traffic stop was conducted on U.S. 77 at about 2:40 p.m.

When the 2003 white Dodge pickup truck was searched, the trooper reportedly found 24 bundles of marijuana that had been stashed inside a false compartment in the bed of the pickup truck. The 23-year-old Los Fresnos driver was taken into custody where he was charged with possession of marijuana. He was taken to Willacy County Jail. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, it was estimated that the 215 pounds of marijuana seized had a street value of about $1 million.

2 charged after investigators recover marijuana, THC oil

Two Texas residents were taken into custody after police executed a search warrant at the couple's home on Aug. 7. Authorities said that multiple drugs were taken from the Conroe residence.

Investigators received a tip into the drugs and served the search warrant at about 1:40 p.m. During the search, the investigators seized significant quantities of marijuana, THC oil and THC wax Two LSD stamps and a variety of drug paraphernalia were also seized. The report said that the THC oil, an active crystalline compound that is extracted from marijuana plants, was packaged so that it could be used in vapor cigarettes.

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