Houston Criminal Law Blog

EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

The DEA Raids a Local High School Coach’s House for Drugs

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Clear-Springs-coach-teacher-held-after-raid-finds-2160084.php

The Drug Enforcement Administration raided the house of Timothy Todd Porter, a local high school volleyball coach and teacher, seeking to gather evidence against him for distribution of controlled substances. The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, investigated Porter for several months before getting judicial authority to enter his home and search for drugs. By waiting several months the DEA gathered evidence that they later presented to a judge to get a warrant to search Porter’s house for the suspected controlled substances.

During its investigation the DEA will conduct interviews with informants, conduct surveillance  on the suspect, take photos or audio/video evidence of the suspect engaging in what may be criminal behavior, staking out the suspect’s home, and possibly tapping the suspect’s phone. The DEA often coordinates with local authorities to get more eyes on the suspect, but many times they “stonewall” local authorities to prevent leaks of their investigation from getting out. This evidence is then presented to a magistrate along with an affidavit from the officer seeking to obtain a warrant to search a particular place. The affidavit must be sworn to in front of the magistrate, who, after making a determination that there’s probable cause to search the target, will sign the warrant, which will then authorize the law enforcement agency to conduct a search of the target.

In both Federal and State court a warrant must comply with the statutory prerequisites before they can yield any admissible evidence. Warrants may have many problems, and in many cases a law enforcement agency will go outside what the warrant directs them to do. A criminal defense attorney must take time to examine every warrant and to see if there are any challenges to its legality. According to our law, if a warrant is defective in such a way that it violates the constitution then the evidence obtained as a result of the defective warrant will have to be suppressed. That’s why it is imperative for a defense attorney to challenge every aspect of the State’s evidence in a criminal trial.

In addition to searching the room and residence of the suspect, Porter, the DEA also arrested two other men living with Porter. They happened to be residences of the target address as well, but they were arrested on drug charges and, according to the story linked above, seem to have had nothing to do with the reason for the raid. When the DEA or any law enforcement are legally present in your house they may search, to a reasonable degree, anywhere that drugs could be stashed. The warrant usually sets out what is to be searched and there are limits on just how invasive the search can be, but if drugs are in “plain view” then the owner of the drugs may be arrested for possession, or worse.

There are many factors someone must consider when encountering a raid by law enforcement. If you or someone you know has been arrested due to an arrest or search warrant, then you need an attorney who’s experienced in reviewing the warrant and challenging the State’s evidence. Call the Law office of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp today for a consultation and protect your rights if you have been arrested for a drug crime.

 

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