Police in Virginia have reported that four individuals have been taken into custody on drug possession charges after a routine call about shoplifting led to the seizure of large amounts of cocaine, amphetamine and currency. Reports indicate that the three men and woman were charged with multiple counts of possessing and transporting drugs and transported to detention facilities where they were held without bond.
Washington County police say that they became suspicious when a 49-year-old man presented them with a fake Arizona identification card and refused to disclose where his vehicle was parked card during routine questioning about an alleged shoplifting at a Bristol big-box retailer. The subsequent search of a Mercedes sedan is said to have yielded large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine and approximately $50,000 in cash. In addition to being charged with drug possession and felony shoplifting, the man was served with an outstanding Arizona warrant relating to forgery charges. His 40-year-old female companion was also taken into custody.
The size of the drug haul prompted police to widen the scope of their investigation according to reports, and agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency were called in to assist with the searches of a residence and storage facility in Bristol. These searches are said to have uncovered an additional two pounds of methamphetamine and led to the arrest of a 45-year-old Virginia man and a 42-year-old Arizona man.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely advise their clients to avail themselves of their Fifth Amendment rights and remain silent rather than make false or misleading statements to police. Prosecutors may be willing to reduce drug crime charges or penalties to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial even when the evidence provided to them by law enforcement is compelling, but they could be less willing to consider leniency in situations where defendants have lied to or misled police officers.