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Authorities indict 32 people for drug trafficking

In early February, 32 people were charged with international drug trafficking, according to New York City prosecutors. Authorities seized more than 103 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, worth around $22 million, in the operation.

Officials from the Bronx District Attorney's office said the drug trafficking ring involved the transportation of opioids from Honduras, through Mexico and then to California, where the drugs would be loaded onto tractor-trailers bound for New York. Authorities said a 37-year-old Fort Lee resident was charged with arranging the transport of the drugs into the United States. He was allegedly observed selling drugs from his family's restaurant on Fordham Road. Federal DEA agents and NYPD officers confiscated $32,420 during a raid of his apartment.

The ringleader and the rest of the defendants, who range in age from 22 to 54, could face life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors said they also plan to sue the defendants for $10.5 million in currency and property. The profits will be used to pay for the eight-month joint investigation that led to the arrests.

New York residents charged with drug crimes can face severe consequences if they are convicted. Typical penalties for such crimes include lengthy prison terms and heavy fines. However, a defendant may be able to avoid conviction by retaining a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney could scrutinize the case for evidence that counters the prosecution's version of events, which could lead to a dismissal of charges. If the evidence in a case is strong, legal counsel may negotiate with prosecutors for a plea bargain that allows the defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges and penalties.

Source: NBC New York, "32 Indicted in Million-Dollar Heroin, Fentanyl Drug Bust in the Bronx: DA," Feb. 2, 2017

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