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21 accused of involvement in drug ring; 13 in custody

On Nov. 21, authorities took 13 individuals who are believed to be involved in a drug pipeline in Pennsylvania into custody. According to the report, the accused individuals, along with eight others named in the indictment, were allegedly transporting heroin and oxycodone from Philadelphia to Morgantown, West Virginia.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment, which included 65 counts, earlier in November. The report only stated that the accused individuals were facing federal charges, though the exact charges were not released. When the indictment was unsealed, the authorities reportedly took the 13 individuals into custody during an arrest operation. Five of the individuals were residents of Pennsylvania while the other eight were residents of West Virginia. The remaining eight people accused of being involved in the drug trafficking ring have not been detained yet.

Federal drug charges have serious penalties for those who are convicted. The severity of the consequences might depend upon the type of drug that was involved as well as the amount of drugs that were sold or transported. The penalties may include a lengthy prison sentence, expensive fines and a conviction on the person's criminal record, making it difficult to find employment and housing in the future.

An attorney might employ several defense strategies in an effort to reduce or drop some of the charges his or her client is facing. Depending upon the circumstances, the attorney might be able to question the legality of the authorities' techniques used to collect evidence such as phone taps as well as question the reliability of surveillance footage and witness statements.

Source: WDTV.com, "Philadelphia to Morgantown drug pipeline disrupted by federal indictment", Alex Wiederspiel, November 21, 2014

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