As a Boston criminal lawyer, I have seen many joint agency criminal investigations. Sometimes law enforcement is looking for gun possession or trafficking. Recently, there was a large inter-state operation regarding the creation and distribution of child pornography. The one we discuss today involves Massachusetts drug crimes.
There has been a joint operation between Boston police and MBTA Transit Police targeting drug dealing according to authorities. It has yielded the arrests of twenty-four people in the Andrew Square area over the past weeks.
Like all such operations, this one has its fancy name. It is “Operation Inside Out ” (hereinafter, “OIO”). OIO was launched during the month of July. It targeted individuals who used the Andrew Square T station to conduct drug transactions. Police used surveillance and shared intelligence in order to make the arrests.
“The primary goal was to impart a positive impact on the Andrew Square area and its neighbors and put those who would conduct such activity on notice to a strong police partnership and presence,” said Boston Police Captain John Greland, commander of District C-6.
According to law enforcement, OIO not only rendered them involuntary guests but also amounts of cash and illegal narcotics, including heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription pills.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Joint Police Investigations
Joint law enforcement investigations enable police organizations to do what, in years past, was not able to be done. In old days, there were quibbles over jurisdictional issues which seemed to be more important than the actual police work.
Maybe it is because computers make it easier, but agencies, both state and federal, seem to be working much better together.
“Sam, let’s assume that I am not dealing in drugs, guns or WMDs…or any other illegal substance. What is this supposed to do with me other than making me feel safer?”
Actually, as is usually my answer to that question, quite a bit when you look at it in the harsh light of reality.
Don’t expect me to rant and rave against the existence of joint police investigations. That is not what I believe. Generally, they are a good idea and it often means that more thought goes into the investigations and more view points are considered. Of course, like most things, there are downsides. The most relevant one here is that the more time, sweat and money goes into such an investigation, the more critical it is that law enforcement have something to show for their efforts.
Often, this means the spreading of a wide net to pull in anyone even remotely believed to be involved in the criminal enterprise so that they can at least be converted into witnesses for the government.
We have discussed the pros and cons of this in the past and, I am sure, we will do so again.
For today, however, let’s focus on how this puts you at risk.
Sometimes, law enforcement is wrong . However, once you are a chosen suspect, you are a chosen suspect. It is very unusual that the government’s mind is going to change whether or not they really feel they can get a conviction.
Particularly given how popular white collar crimes have been to prosecutors this past year, investigations to prepare new matters are ongoing. Is it possible that you could be pulled into such a web?
“Of course not, Sam! I am a law-abiding citizen. I don’t even get traffic tickets.”
Would you like to know how many times I have heard that? Do you want to know how many times it is true…until the charges come down connecting someone to a criminal conspiracy?
Do you really think that they are all guilty?
I don’t. And no…you do not want to know.
Suffice to say, be aware and be careful. Both in getting involved with a criminal enterprise as well as being pulled into the sites of an investigation.
And…that brings us to a loose thread we left hanging about search and seizure, not to mention a new SJC ruling, earlier in the week.
Let’s finish out the week with that. One more blog to go.
If I may, however, I would like to take a moment to salute a fellow Boston criminal lawyer who has, I am sorry to share, left us at age 59. His name was Benjamin David Entine and I received news of his passing yesterday. He was a great man who “fought the good fight” with great ability, talent and compassion in Massachusetts state and federal courts. He wore many hats to serve his fellow man, among which was the mantle of Rabbi. He will be sorely missed by many, both in his personal and professional lives.
ינוח בשלום על משכבו, my friend.
To view the articles upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/08/arrested-andrew-square-drug-operation/7PI6LpyAh9ME6HBlhVDlxL/index.html and http://obitsforlife.com/obituary/388920/Entine-Benjamin.php