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Sweep nets 14 arrests for drug charges in Manchester raids

New Hampshire authorities, assisted by local and federal law enforcement agencies, conducted a "Granite Hammer" raid recently in Manchester. This was the second raid conducted since October. This crime sweep netted 14 arrests, most of them on drug charges.

The suspects ranged in age from 20 through 58. Authorities pegged the arrests as part of a joint effort of state, federal and local law enforcement targeting drugs. However, at least three and possibly more of the arrests involved traffic stops, per the press reports apparently taken from police records. It is difficult to see how a random traffic stop would be part of a drug sweep planned in advance.

Indeed, few of the arrests indicate the use of warrants. They seem instead to characterize random matters not associated with an organized, prepared law enforcement operation. There are no reports of prior drug purchases or undercover activities. In addition to traffic stops, some of the arrests involved apprehending suspects in their vehicles in parking lots.

The police reports indicate that these matters proceeded not on prior investigations but on new observations of unknown perpetrators. Some of the arrests involved stopping pedestrians walking or standing on the street. These also appear to have been random stops. Based on the published arrest summaries, only three of the 14 arrests were accompanied by a search or arrest warrant targeting a specific address.

Therefore, despite the public relations effort, the bulk of the raids consisted of the police doing what they do daily. This may tend to help some defendants better defend the drug charges due to there being a lack of preparation behind the arrest. For example, stopping a vehicle based on racial profiling or other factors connoting "suspicion" is an invalid stop that can be challenged as unconstitutional. Each defendant will be well-advised to consult with criminal defense counsel as early as possible after the arrest to preserve all potential defenses under New Hampshire criminal law.

Source: unionleader.com, "More than a dozen face drug charges after latest 'Granite Hammer' raids in Manchester", Feb. 1, 2017

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