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2 Michigan residents charged with heroin possession

Two people in Southwest Michigan are now facing drug charges after a weeklong police investigation ended with a search of an apartment. Inside the apartment police reportedly found heroin, marijuana and evidence that the residents were involved in a drug trafficking operation.

Two residents of the apartment unit were arrested and placed in the county jail as they awaited arraignment on various drug charges. One suspect was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute illicit substances and maintaining a drug house. The other suspect faces charges for marijuana possession, in addition to arrest warrants from other Michigan counties.

The police said they began investigating the apartment after neighbors began to suspect that drug activity was going on in the unit.

There are various types of drug charges, including drug possession, drug manufacturing and drug trafficking. Simple drug possession usually carries the smallest penalties with a conviction. However, if a person allegedly intended to distribute the drug, then the fines and punishment can be greater. Drug manufacturing and trafficking carries even harsher penalties. In some cases, a person may be charged with a felony and face prison time on top of hefty fines.

Drug trafficking refers to the selling of drugs to others, as well as transporting and importing drugs into the country or another state. The laws prohibiting this activity apply to all illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, meth and so-called club drugs. Laws and punishment vary according to the type of drug being sold and the geographic area in which the trafficking occurs. If a person has a criminal history of drug charges, the penalties may also become more severe.

The penalties for drug crimes can be very harsh. If a person is convicted on felony charges, then they will likely follow a person long after they've completed their sentence. This is why it's important to thoroughly scrutinize the evidence provided by prosecutors to ensure it actually meets the burden of proof needed for conviction.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Two arrested after police find heroin in their Watervliet home," Aaron Mueller, Oct. 4, 2012

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