A Tioga County physician was charged with health care fraud and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance on Aug. 22. According to the report, the physician was accused of providing prescriptions for narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose between January 2010 and July 2013.
According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, a June 23 drug raid focused on a variety of dealers with connections to two loosely tied organizations that distribute drugs throughout at least three counties in the state. Law enforcement officials detained 48 individuals accused of being drug dealers, including three Birdsboro resents, authorities reported.
A 65-year-old man has been accused of being involved with a Mexican drug cartel for nearly two decades. The man, who was born in Mexico but is now a legal citizen of the U.S., is facing federal drug charges. Law enforcement officials conducted a raid on his property.
A Pittsburgh-area business has gotten tangled in the recent hacking of Target stores throughout the United States. Hackers are believed to have installed malware in the checkout system for about 1,800 stores. It's estimated that, during the holiday season, the hackers accessed 40 million credit card and debit card numbers, along with the personal information of 70 million customers.
The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is based in Philadelphia and has jurisdiction over courts in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Recently, with regard to an alleged string of pharmacy burglaries, the federal appeals court ruled that investigators violated a man's Fourth Amendment rights by placing a GPS tracking device on his van without a warrant.
Joint investigations conducted by law enforcement can bring down serious charges to a large number of people. In such investigations, Pennsylvania law enforcement agents will use a wide range of techniques to secure the evidence they need to execute search and arrest warrants on those they suspect are involved in drug trafficking. In a recent investigation, 18 individuals have been arrested who police claim were part of a violent gang that distributed heroin in the Wilkinsburg area.
It can take a substantial period of time for law enforcement to build a case against a targeted individual. Surveillance, controlled purchases and the use of under cover officers can all be utilized in order to accumulate enough evidence to secure a court approved search warrant. When this warrant is issued, and Pennsylvania authorities enter a targeted residence, what they find inside can serve as their basis for the filing of drug trafficking charges.
Pittsburgh-born rapper Wiz Khalifa has avoided prosecution for alleged drug possession through a plead deal. In exchange for prosecutors dropping marijuana possession charges, the popular hip-hop artists made a public-service video encouraging children to make good life choices.
When a federal, state or local law enforcement agency wants to search somebody's home or property in Pittsburgh, they generally must get a search warrant first. The principle behind this is to prevent police from conducting random searches of people's homes with little to no pretext. Our nation was founded on the idea of limited police powers and the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights helps enshrine this principle with its warrant requirement.
Back on Oct. 10, we discussed how police officers in Pittsburgh sometimes search people's homes and seize property without having obtained a search warrant first. Though the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is generally interpreted to require that law enforcement obtain a warrant before entering and searching a home, exceptions to that rule do exist. In cases where officers conducted a warrantless search, the officers and prosecutors who bring charges based on the search's results often will claim one of these exceptions as justification.