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Animal Services search leads to drug-related charges for pair

South Carolina authorities have seized a large amount of cocaine and cash from a Lexington County home. Officials say that the street value of the 300 grams of cocaine is estimated at $30,000, while about $25,000 in cash was identified at the house. Two defendants are currently in custody for drug-related charges, which include possession of crack cocaine and drug trafficking. The pair, a 34-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman are also accused of possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and other weapons charges.

Representatives from the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team executed the search warrant at the couple's home in Swansea at about 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. Investigators say they identified a significant amount of cocaine and crack cocaine, along with potential paraphernalia including plastic bags and digital scales. Further, a money-counting machine and several firearms with ammunition were allegedly found in the home.

Interestingly, it appears that the defendants' home was searched because of a tip from animal welfare investigators from Lexington County Animal Services. Those workers and sheriff's deputies had visited the couple's home to inquire about the condition of several dogs that were living at the address. During the course of the execution of the Animal Services search warrant, a digital scale was seen on a table, along with a dusting of white powder. that was believed to be cocaine. A separate search warrant was then obtained by narcotics officers, at which time the drugs and other items were reportedly seized.

Even though this pair has been arrested for drug crimes, an arrest does not necessarily mean that they are guilty. Individuals facing drug-related charges may benefit from consulting with a qualified criminal defense attorney, who can help them learn about the legal and valid execution of a search warrant. All defendants have the right to Fourth Amendment protections, which guard against illegal search and seizure. Careful analysis of search and seizure proceedings may yield helpful legal information in drug crime cases.

Source: WIS-TV, "Authorities seize $55K worth of drugs and cash from home" No author given, Jan. 15, 2014

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