The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), spends nearly $15 billion
a year on investigating drug crimes. State and local police spend about
$25 billion investigating similar drug offenses. With an annual total
of $40 billion, about $500 is spent per second investigating drug crimes
in the U.S.
The DEA collaborates with the FBI, CIA and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
to combat both national and international drug crimes. State and local
police agencies work together and share resources with task forces in
their jurisdiction to investigate
drug offenses as well.
How Does a Drug Dealer Become a Suspect?
The first aspect of a drug crime investigation is to identify a suspect.
Sometimes this is accomplished through a coincidental traffic stop that
leads to a big drug bust. More often than not though, expensive lifestyles
and rumors circulating around town will lead police to a particular suspect.
Investigators can spend weeks, months, and sometimes even years investigating
one person or group for a drug related offense.
How Is an Investigation Conducted?
The tactics used to investigate drug crimes are technical and complicated.
Law enforcement officials use the following methods of investigation:
- Light pole cameras to monitor suspects as they come and go from their homes,
work, or other important locations.
- GPS trackers to prove where a suspect goes throughout the day and night.
- Following suspected drug dealers to the places they frequent most to look
for evidence that might be a break in the case.
- If they have a warrant, law enforcement will use wiretaps to monitor phone
calls. If they can’t obtain a warrant, police will use a pen register,
which only shows who a suspect is communicating with, but not the contents
of their call.
- Monitoring electric usage at locations suspected of containing marijuana
grow operations. Police will also use infrared imaging to monitor the
amount of heat coming through the walls of a suspect’s building.
The most efficient way to investigate drug crimes is to simply “work
up the chain.” This is achieved by catching someone
selling or in possession of drugs and then offering them a deal to provide information that leads to the
arrest of a more prominent drug dealer. Using informants usually produces
the best results when police are building a case against a suspected drug dealer.
Have you been accused of a drug crime? Are you facing criminal charges? Contact our St. Augustine team of criminal defense lawyers
to request a free consultation today.