Articles Posted in Drugs

Criminal drug possession is a serious matter in California. The severity of the offense depends, in part, on both the nature of the drug at issue and whether possession is accompanied by intent to sell. Individuals charged with either simple possession or possession with intent to sell should discuss the protection of their rights with a skilled California criminal defense attorney.

Drugs are Classified as Controlled Substances in California

Drugs are termed “controlled substances” by California law. Because there is a wide array of controlled substances, they are grouped into a number of classifications. The body of law that defines and groups controlled substances in the California Health and Safety Code. It prohibits the possession of certain controlled substances absent a valid medical prescription. The CHSC defines a controlled substance as any drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, and use are regulated by the U.S. government in accordance with the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. In this way, California law integrates aspects of federal law.

David Lee Windecher grew up poor in Miami in a community burdened by guns and drugs. Against the odds, Windecher rejected the world in which he was a self-described “gangster,” to become a lawyer and mentor for at-risk youth. Before renouncing gang life, Windecher was arrested 13 times. He is now using his story to inspire others that are attempting to make something of themselves when a life of crime, drugs, or violence is all they know. He wrote a book entitled The AmerIcan Dream: HisStory in the Making.

Windecher should serve as an inspiration for troubled offenders at any age. He is living proof that you can turn your life around if you put your mind to it. He joined the Georgia bar in 2012 and the Florida bar last year. He recently set up his own criminal defense practice. A portion of the proceeds of his book fund his nonprofit RED Inc. (Rehabilitation Enables Dreams). RED Inc. funds a GED program, together with a program run by the office of DeKalb County Solicitor Sherry Boston.

Windecher was reluctant to share his story at first. “I talk to my clients about my background, and a lot of times they get emotional. At first I was hesitant; being that transparent can make you vulnerable.” He and his siblings grew up in poverty. He was first arrested at the age of 11 for shoplifting. He chose to join a Hispanic gang after a beating by local black gang members. He needed money, so he formed a crime ring before he could even drive. His crime ring dealt drugs, stole cars, and robbed businessmen. As a teenager, his life consisted of gang activity and he was arrested repeatedly for various offenses including grand theft, battery, assault, and conspiracy.

The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program started out as a pilot program in Seattle. The program was quite successful and is now being used by some counties in California. LEAD was developed as a solution to low-level drug and prostitution crimes. It is designed to rehabilitate a certain group of non-violent offenders instead of sending them straight to prison. The program started as a pilot experiment in which 203 participants were randomly selected over four years. It is offered to offenders that are arrested in possession of 3 grams of illegal drugs or less, have no history of violent criminal offenses, and are not involved in promotion of prostitution or exploiting minors for drug sales. So far the LEAD program has reduced the likelihood of repeat arrests for those that participated in the initial program.

What exactly is LEAD?

LEAD is a diversion program. Diversion programs are designed to minimize the negative effects that are connected with drug crimes, such as homelessness and the inability to obtain gainful employment. The program replaces incarceration with rehabilitation. LEAD “cuts out the criminal justice system and assigns voluntary participants to case workers who can provide immediate help – a hot meal, a warm coat, a safe place to sleep – as well as longer-term services for drug treatment, stable housing, and job training. Services are individually tailored and relapses are expected.” LEAD is a pre-booking program, which means that it occurs before you are formally charged for a drug crime. Unlike the existing diversion programs in California, LEAD operates by transferring offenders immediately to case management instead of going through the court or prison system.

Last year, two children were discovered face down and floating in a pool behind a home in La Mesa. The mother of the children, Tassie Behrens, claimed she put the children to sleep on the living room couch the night before and then joined her boyfriend in the master bedroom to sleep. According to detectives, Behrens said the oldest of the two children came into the bedroom about 8a.m. the next morning looking for his younger sister, implying she was no longer in the living room where the mother had left them. Behrens apparently ignored this and went back to sleep, only to get up an hour later and find them both drowned in the backyard pool. The children, one two years old and the other only eighteen months old, should have never been left alone and especially not where they would be able to so easily access the pool. Behrens, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child endangerment and was sentenced to four years in prison. The drowned children, however, were not all detectives found when they entered the house. The search of the property revealed a drug manufacturing business was underway as police found pipes, bongs, drug residue, exposed wires, butane cans and other dangerous things all within the children’s grasp. Behren’s boyfriend, 45-year-old Larry Dangelo, was the one renting the house and plead guilty to one count of manufacturing honey oil and another charge related to a different location. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in custody and is required to serve half of his sentence in county jail and the other half under mandatory probation supervision.

Sources:
“Man In Drowning Case Sentenced On Drug Charges” – UT San Diego

Sunday was an eventful day in East County as authorities rake in the arrests from a routine probation sweep. The probation sweep involved traffic stops and trolley patrols in Lakeside, Santee and East County in an effort to cover as much ground as possible. Overall, the process was successful and left around forty people facing drug charges for various crimes ranging from possession of mere paraphernalia or actual drugs. In some cases, the drugs in possession by the individuals were meant for widespread sale and more than $1,000 worth of methamphetamine was seized during the entire course of the probation check. The probation check ran from a window between 6am and 6pm on Saturday and was nicknamed “Operation Summer’s End,” appropriately so as the fall season is now in full swing. The offenders arrested were booked into jail, charged with their appropriate crime based on what was found in their possession. According to authorities, the probation check was a combing-through of probationers previously or currently involved in crimes to help those on a “conditional release” avoid falling back into their previous crime committing lifestyles.

Sources:
“Probation Sweep Leaves 40 Facing Drug Charges” – Times Of San Diego

Schools are taking drug use more seriously to the extent of hiring drug-sniffing dogs to secure narcotics from students’ belongings, so much so that the district decided to use close to $60,000 acquired in an education grant to purchase Blitz – their very own drug detecting dog. Previously, principals of the schools in the San Diego district had to pull the funds for separate narcotic searches with canines from their individual campus budgets, but since the hiring of Blitz authorities have been able to visit and have the dog sniff out nearly all of the high schools the district encompasses. Some parents, however, are far from happy about the acquisition and claim the drug searches are a violation of the freedom rights of their children. The administration has taken as many precautions as possible to make sure students are aware the searches are voluntary and parents are notified; text messages are sent to the parents when searches are going to take place. Students are allowed to choose whether or not to exit classrooms and leave their belongings in order to volunteer being subjected to searches from Blitz. Having a personal narcotic sniffing canine certainly is out of the norm for a school district and It isn’t clear if other districts will follow in San Diego’s footsteps.

Sources:
“Drug Sniffing Dog Has Increased Presence On San Diego Campuses” – UT San Diego

Another celebrity got in trouble with the authorities on Tuesday; Michael Phelps was charged with another DUI. According to online records, this DUI charge is another addition to a myriad of other charges against him. In total, Phelps is awaiting the consequences of five traffic charges and the documentation is now available on the web for everyone to see. The charges, accumulated at different times in the past few years, include but are not limited to: driving while impaired from alcohol, driving under the influence and driving under the influence of alcohol. DUI charges are a large percentage of Phelps’ legal troubles, but he also accrued charges for excessive speeding and driving over double-lane lines in the I-95 tunnel. As of today, there are no set dates for court and Phelps does not yet have a defense attorney. When the press reached out to Phelps to obtain his statement for the press, he took “full responsibility” for his reckless behavior and apologized tremendously.

Sources:
“Charging Documents Show Phelps DUIs Tied To Alcohol” – UT San Diego

Amanda Bynes got in some trouble this weekend when she was arrested early Sunday morning around 4am. Bynes, widely known for “The Amanda Show,” was a successful childhood actress with talents keeping her in the industry until her young adult life. At some point, however, Bynes’ life started looking increasingly more chaotic to the outside world as she changed her face with procedures, piercings, caked-on makeup and overly dark spray tans. Not only did her physical appearance change after she retired from acting, her overall behavior did as well. Prior to her arrest Sunday morning, Bynes was already serving out her probation sentence for previous unruly acts such as DUIs, setting a neighbor’s driveway on fire, etc; she even threw a bong out of her apartment window on the 36th floor! The arrest this weekend occurred after police were notified about a car stopping in the middle of an intersection in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. After a thorough evaluation at the local police station, Bynes was determined to be operating her vehicle under the influence of a drug yet to be identified. She was booked and taken into custody but was later released after she posted $15,000 bail. This isn’t Bynes’ first incident with reckless driving and most likely won’t be her last, but hopefully she takes something away from these mishaps and drives safer in the future.

Sources:
“Amanda Bynes Arrested for DUI in Los Angeles” – UT San Diego

It was revealed this morning with a confirmed police report that the Padres’ shortstop, Everth Cabrera, was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. He was arrested a little after midnight on Wednesday morning and the consequences of this arrest may be big enough to keep him off of the field for a while; the rest of this season and possibly carrying over until the next. Cabrera has already been off of the field for extended periods of time for other unfortunate events, one of them being his continuous hamstring injuries. He was currently in preparation to start rehabbing his injuries with the Single-A affiliate ‘Lake Elsinore Storm.’ The 2013 season was filled with nothing but problems for Cabrera and he was suspended for 50 games for being implicated in the Biogenesis scandal. He was also charged with domestic violence while in spring training, but the charges were eventually dropped. While being arrested for DUI is a serious charge, it is not clear what exactly will happen to Cabrera and his position on the field. Being a role model, as most sports players are, he has earned himself a lot of negative publicity; possibly enough to ruin his career.

Sources:
“Everth Cabrera Arrested for DUI in San Diego” – The Friarhood

A big drug bust happened around 9am Sunday morning when a female driver approached the interstate 8 inspection facility in Pine Valley. For some reason, the woman wouldn’t roll down her window for routine questioning. Essentially creating the circumstances for her own downfall, her strange behavior tipped off the officers to inspect her vehicle. A drug detecting dog alerted them to the presence of some type of contraband; heroin and methamphetamine were hidden in her dashboard in a non-factory compartment. Authorities seized the large amount of drugs, with a total weight of 24.91lbs – a street value estimated to be just over half a million dollars. The female driver, whose name was not released, was taken into custody and is expected to face federal charges of possession of controlled substances. The Border Patril seized her car and now has it in their custody for further inspection.

Sources:
“Large Drug Bust In East County” – San Diego 6, The CW