Janet Altschuler
Criminal Defense Attorney
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Suspect allegedly tried to start a drug-dealing ring in Arizona

Being implicated in the sale or use of drugs can have far reaching and serious consequences beyond fines or jail time. The stigma and penalties associated with a drug charge can linger for a lifetime.

A foreign man staying in the country on a student visa faces drug charges after authorities arrested him and alleged that he tried to start up a cocaine distribution ring in Flagstaff. Police say the suspect intended the drug ring to include the city, its surrounding areas and neighboring Native American reservations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement collaborated on the three-month investigation into the suspect's activities. Law enforcement authorities report seizing cash, vehicles and cocaine. The alleged mastermind faces charges of drug sales and transportation. An additional suspect has also been accused of transporting narcotics in the drug ring.

It is important to remember that people are presumed innocent and police do make mistakes. A strong defense is needed to help mitigate the possible serious consequences involved when facing charges based on drug offenses. Regardless of the criminal penalties, a drug charge can impede one's ability to acquire employment later on.

If the charge rises to the felony level, a conviction could affect a number of important aspects of an individual's life, including voting rights; the ability to receive student, home or car loans; and even the ability to qualify for government benefits. While not available in every case, defendants have options including diversion programs, which, if successfully completed, can remove the charge from a person's criminal record.

Source: Arizona Daily Sun, "Man accused of trying to start coke-dealing ring," May 15, 2012.

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