Drug complaints concerning a fitness center in North Carolina led to police making 21 arrests on Aug. 22. Police claim the arrests were a result of an eight-month investigation referred to as Operation Blue Thunder. The operation was a joint effort between the Mitchell County Sherriff’s Office, the Spruce Pine Police Department and Bakersville Police. Federal authorities and State Bureau of Investigation agents contributed in the raid as well. A local police chief said that most of the drug activity in the area is related to prescription medication.
Police say the main goal of the operation was to keep the people selling drugs off of Mitchell County’s streets. Investigators claim undercover officers were sold prescription drugs, steroids and methamphetamine during the eight-month investigation. Police seized 10 vehicles and other property as part of the investigation. All of the people arrested as a result of Operation Blue Thunder were charged with drug trafficking offenses. Police claim they plan to continue conducting similar operations and hope to make more arrests in the near future.
The people arrested in Operation Blue Thunder may benefit from contacting a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers can help the accused avoid having their charges upgraded. A defense lawyer may be able to help some of the defendants avoid jail time or other serious penalties that are often associated with drug trafficking.
A criminal defense lawyer could help ensure that a defendant’s right to due process have not been violated or overlooked by the legal system. Often times, an improper search and seizure or other discrepancies in the investigation may warrant lesser charges, a more lenient sentence or an outright dismissal. Even if an acquittal is unlikely, lawyers may still be able to negotiate a lesser sentence through a plea bargain.