Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Entrapment and Drug Stings

Multiple law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts recently broke up a massive drug trafficking ring, which resulted in the arrest of 14 individuals and confiscated about 35 pounds of fentanyl and heroin as well as 15 pounds of cocaine and four handguns. 

The investigation first began in 2017 and led to a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement. The effort marks the first major investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team. 

The bust involved the simultaneous execution of 14 search warrants in Methuen and Lawrence. While two suspects were arraigned in Ayer District Court, the rest of the individuals who were arrested were arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Law enforcement has already stated that by reducing the availability of these drugs, it will greatly improve the lives of many addicts and their loved ones. 

As the state of Massachusetts continues to combat the ongoing drug crisis, it is likely that the state will use a number of tactics to combat drug usage. Despite efforts by law enforcement to combat drug use, there are a number of Constitutional and state rights that law enforcement is still required to follow. 

If a law enforcement officer arrests you for a drug related offense, you likely have questions about the validity of your arrest as well as the availability of possible defenses. To respond to these situations, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be particularly helpful. 

How Sting Operations Work

During drug stings, law enforcement officers sometimes pose as drug dealers to catch other people who are involved with the sale or purchase of drugs. For these stings to work, law enforcement sometimes even interacts with real drugs. 

If an officer has arrested you as a result of one of these operations, it is common to be uncertain about what is happening. By creating the fear that you might be arrested for buying or selling drugs, law enforcement hopes to greatly reduce the number of drug transactions that occur. 

The Potential for Entrapment

Entrapment is a common defense after a person is arrested in relation to a drug sting. If a court of law determines that entrapment was involved in your arrest, it is likely that you will be able to create a strong enough defense to either reduce your charges or have them dropped entirely. 

The burden is on the person charged, however, to demonstrate that entrapment occurred. In these cases, it is critical to remember several important factors:

  • Law enforcement is prohibited from using unreasonable methods to convince you to commit a criminal offense. This includes harassing or threatening you.

  • A person must not have any predisposition to commit a criminal defense. In situations in which a person already has a criminal record in relation to drug offenses, it is more difficult but not impossible to successfully argue entrapment. 

  • Despite the availability of the entrapment defense, law enforcement can sometimes use deception in stings, which might include presenting as drug dealers or buyers or hiding the fact that a person is a police officer. Many people, however, still believe the long held myth that law enforcement must reveal their identity or risk entrapment allegations.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Following a drug-related arrest, it is common to experience a number of fears and uncertainties. One of the best steps to make sure your charges resolve in the best possible manner is to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.