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Drug charges on tap for 5 young adults under the age of 21

Five New Jersey residents were arrested by police in connection with drug charges when police stopped by a condominium apartment after their neighbors lodged a complaint. The neighbors had reportedly told police they had seen illegal substances, paraphernalia and suspicious activities through the open windows of the condo. The five alleged suspects, all of them under the age of 21, may face tough penalties if convicted of the drug charges.

After going to the house in Mahwah, New Jersey, police investigators allegedly discovered a "large quantity" of illegal drugs, including mushrooms, marijuana, and Xanax. They also reported finding psilocybin, which is the purified psychedelic component in mushrooms. Some of the psilocybin had been measured using an electronic scale and plastic cups, which were construed by police as evidence that the five were intending to distribute the drugs, heightening the seriousness of the charges. Four of the people in the condo, including a 19 year old who resided there, were charged with the possession and intent to distribute. The fifth person in the condo, a 20-year-old male, was only charged with possession, though it is unclear why his charge was different.

Though these charges understandably seem grave, there are many questions that surface upon a closer examination. For instance, nowhere in the report does it establish the exact circumstance under which the police entered the condo. Police are required to follow certain procedures in their investigations and arrests, and when evidence exists that errors were made, the underlying charges could be affected or even dismissed entirely. Furthermore, it is possible that one or more individuals present in the condo at the time of the arrest had no knowledge of any claimed illegal drug activity.

Those in New Jersey purportedly distributing illegal drugs may find themselves facing charges that carry steep penalties or jail time upon conviction. For the young people who face these drug charges, this can mean that their lives could be significantly altered if they are found guilty, a fact that probably already weighs heavily on their minds.

Source: AllMediaNY.com, "Young N.J. Adults Busted for 'Shrooms'," Stephanie Ortiz, March 26, 2012

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