Law enforcement agencies will usually choose to open narcotics investigations into suspected dealers or distributors—they rarely investigate mere drug use. Since police departments and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have limited resources, they in most cases investigate people who are suspected of moving large quantities of drugs, or selling to vulnerable groups such as high school students.
That being said, there is always a risk of getting caught—at a random traffic stop, for example—whether the police are investigating you or not. If you believe you are being investigated for narcotics, you should try to avoid giving law enforcement reason to suspect you.
The Police May Be Conducting an Undercover Investigation
If your activities are suspicious enough to attract the attention of law enforcement, they will likely use undercover methods to collect evidence against you. Once the police learn who you are, they will set up a surveillance apparatus to learn more about you and your supposed clients. They will observe your movements as well as the identity of the people you meet with or who come to your home.
In the next stage of the investigation, which may occur after weeks of surveillance, the police may start posing as customers in the hopes that you will take the bate. The undercover cops will have fake identities complete with full backstories and ID cards to match. They will often change their hair and clothing styles to match the appearance of the people with whom they’ve seen you associating.
You might think that the cops will arrest you right away if you sell drugs to an undercover agent. But this is not always the case. They may be trying to learn about other people in the drug trade through you. Regardless of the police’s motivation, what this means is that someone who you think of as a trusted client may in fact be a longtime undercover officer.
Stop All Suspicious Activities if You Are Being Investigated
Once you have reason to believe the police are investigating you, you should stop all illegal or suspicious activities. Even if you’re not actually dealing drugs, the police may be interested in you because your friends are users or distributors. If you want to avoid further trouble, you should keep your distances with anyone who you know to be pursuing illegal activities. Never talk about illegal activities over the phone because it could be tapped.
When the police have enough reason to suspect you’re a drug dealer, they may seek a warrant from a judge authorizing them to search your house. You could attempt to remove any incriminating items you have on your property, but if you get caught hiding or destroying evidence, you may face obstruction of justice charges. Remember that you can almost always refuse to allow the police to search your house if they do not have a warrant.
Call an Experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re worried about being investigated by the police, consider yourself lucky—most people don’t realize they are of interest to the police until they are behind bars. You have the ability right now to avoid criminal charges by suspending your suspicious activities and taking steps to avoid giving the police evidence of your wrongdoing.
You should also consult with a criminal attorney who can advise you on how to assert your rights when and if the police confront you. If you think the police already have evidence against you, your attorney can start thinking of ways to fight against your drug distribution charges. Jessica McElfresh is a San Diego criminal defense attorney dedicated to helping her clients through the California criminal justice system. You can call her today at (858) 756-7107 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
California marijuana laws change frequently. For updated information, see the following pages: Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana Business