Undercover drug busts often involve police officers masquerading as drug dealers. In sting operations, law enforcement officers pretend to be drug dealers and end up conducting drug sales to users or other drug dealers with the goal of making arrests and pressing charges. Generally speaking, police officers cannot coerce or physically force people into committing these acts, but they may lie to suspects during these sting operations or making misleading statements.
Officers set up these types of sting operations for a variety of reasons depending on who is the target of the operation. When police officers know that drug users look to purchase from dealers in a certain neighborhood, they might pose as drug dealers to arrest these buyers. These stings are aimed at curbing drug-related activity in neighborhoods and reducing crime, in general, in the area. When police are trying to arrest the dealers themselves, they might be able to make a case by posing as narcotics dealers themselves and conducting controlled sales.
THE CONCEPT OF ENTRAPMENT
So, in these circumstances, the question might arise as to whether the actions of a police officer might amount to “entrapment.” The answer is, unless a police officer is putting pressure on the buyer or forcing them to buy the drugs, it will not be considered entrapment. The entrapment defense applies only in a case where police are enticing a person to commit a crime, which that individual ordinarily would not have committed.
For example, selling drugs at cheaper than the market rate is not good enough to meet the bar of entrapment. Such stings are often successful when buyers end up taking the bait and buy the drugs. When dealers purchase larger quantities of drugs, they face significant drug charges as a result such as attempted to sell or transport drugs.
While it may not seem fair to press drug charges against a drug user as the result of such an undercover sting operation, law enforcement officials undertake these efforts frequently. And they are successful. An undercover police officer is also not required to admit to being an officer if questioned by a drug buyer.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED
If you are facing drug crime charges as a result of an undercover sting operation, the first step you should take is to contact an experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense attorney who has successfully handled similar cases. As with any criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means the prosecutor must prove that you committed a crime. You are innocent until proven guilty.
As far as drug crimes are concerned, you have rights. In addition to entrapment, illegal search and seizure is also a common defense in such cases. What this means is any drugs confiscated from your property or person cannot be used as evidence unless it was seized legally. Law enforcement officials must have a court warrant also known as a search warrant in most cases to conduct searches. They must also have probable cause to arrest you or make a traffic stop. For more information or to discuss your case at no cost, call one of our experienced drug crime defense lawyers.