Drug Investigations in Prince William County
There are several drug agencies that are involved in the investigation and enforcement of drug cases in Prince William County. These include Prince William County police and state police primarily, but there are also subdivisions within those agencies.
For example the Prince William County police have the Special Investigations Bureau which investigates drug activity in the county and participates in drug enforcement task forces locally, on the state level, and even on the federal level through agencies such as regional task forces.
Investigative Tools in Prince William County Drug Cases
Prince William County police and investigators have a number of tools at their disposal to investigate drug-related crimes and offenses. One of the primary ways is one of the oldest ways and that’s through the use of confidential informants.
There are always hundreds if not thousands of drug arrests in the county every year and law enforcement are always looking to try to turn someone who is an accused into an informant for the police and will often offer them favorable treatment in their case if they do that. People have to be aware that anyone that they are dealing with in a drug transaction is potentially either a police officer or can potentially be an informant acting on behalf of police.
Another way that they investigate is through surveillance. If police receive information that drug sales are going on at a particular location or if they received evidence that manufacturing is taking place at a certain location, police will often do a stakeout of an area. Also with the increased sophistication and prevalence of surveillance technology, there are additional ways that they are able to conduct those investigations.
Those investigative techniques will then often lead to the execution of search warrants where sometimes they will discover things that they’re not even searching for. Police may develop evidence that’s sufficient to get them a search warrant to look for an illegal handgun possessed by a felon and in the course of that search they may discover illegal drugs.
Visitors vs. Prince William County Residents
Visitors from other cities or other states are treated the same as local offenders in drug cases, if not more harshly. There is certainly a feeling among law enforcement as well as prosecutors that they do not wish to have the severe drug problem which exists to a greater degree in other nearby communities come to Prince William.
They are eager, I think understandably, for Prince William to have a reputation as being a place where enforcement is at a very high level and where the penalties are very stiff and where the prosecutors are very tough.
If someone is from another locale or from out of state, they may be treated even more harshly than someone who is local and contributes to the community or has roots in the community.
That’s why it’s critically important that if someone is from an outside jurisdiction or even just a different community nearby, that they work with someone who is local to Prince William County knows the prosecutor, knows the police officer, knows what defenses work, can put a human face on a defendant, and bring to bear all of the best tactics for either having their charge be dismissed or having it be reduced.