Federal Prosecutions Can Involve Local Investigations
Four agencies team up to indict five Ohio men on federal drug trafficking charges
January 30, 2014 marked the final federal indictment of five Ohio men who were allegedly involved in cocaine-related criminal activities, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine, drug trafficking and money laundering. The conspiracy charges alone carry penalties ranging from ten years to life in prison, and prosecutors also seek forfeiture of three houses, cash and jewelry, all connected with proceeds of the crime.
Even alone, federal justice and taxing agencies have powerful investigative capabilities. However, this case illustrates how they also make use of state and county law enforcement support to provide the local knowledge and access that may otherwise be unfamiliar to federal investigators. According to a press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it took work from the following four agencies to develop the evidence needed for indictment in this case:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation
- The Internal Revenue Service
- The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
- The Columbus Division of Police
These particular individual indictments occurred between December 2013 and January 2014, but investigations that lead to these kinds of major federal criminal indictments can extend over many years. Once defendants are arraigned, their Ohio criminal defense lawyers are allowed discovery periods during which they conduct their own investigations and prepare their clients’ defense strategies. However, these discovery periods are often significantly less generous than the months or years federal agencies take to prepare an indictment.