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Stash house tactic deemed entrapment, 27 charges dropped

Defending yourself against criminal charges is not always about proving whether you did or did not do something unlawful. It can also be crucial to establish why you may have committed a crime in order to potentially have charges dismissed.

For example, if you have been arrested and are facing drug charges, there may be grounds to pursue an entrapment defense. This is the very issue that recently resulted in drug conspiracy charges being dismissed for 27 people.

According to reports, federal prosecutors in another state decided to drop the drug charges against more than two dozen people in separate cases because they stemmed from controversial police tactics that many people consider to be entrapment.

Entrapment occurs when a person commits a crime only as a result of being persuaded to engage in unlawful behavior by authorities. If a person would not have otherwise committed the crime, the entrapment defense may be appropriate.

The specific technique that has come under fire involves undercover law enforcement agents making claims of huge fictitious drug stashes being held in a home that also does not exist. Officers tell a target that there is an enormous amount of money to be made, luring people to the drug houses where they are arrested on conspiracy charges and at risk of facing harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.

The reason this stash house tactic has been called entrapment is because it reportedly unfairly targets poor minorities, even though authorities claim that they only target people who have a history of being willing to engage in theft and robbery. However, the fact that these stings are most often carried out in neighborhoods with a significant population of poor black or Latino residents seems to discredit that claim.

This is just one case where claims of entrapment have called police tactics into question and resulted in the dismissal of charges. It is a complex strategy, but one that may prove to be successful in similar situations.

Source: Associated Press, “Federal prosecutors drop dozens of stash house sting charges,” Michael Tarm, Jan. 30, 2015

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