This holiday season, it may be worse than a lump of coal for those the authorities accuse of wrongdoing: it could be an arrest and prosecution for drug crimes, weapons offenses or other types of serious charges.
In what has been hailed as the largest police raid in Detroit history, police officers from various agencies swept through the west side on December 17. For those arrested in the crackdown, a strong legal defense could be the only way to bring back the joy of the season.
"Operation Mistletoe" included approximately 300 police officers. While the Detroit Police Department led the operation, other jurisdictional authorities that participated in the raid included the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, and the Michigan State Police.
The target area of Operation Mistletoe was approximately bordered by Grand River Avenue, 14th Street, Grand Boulevard and Joy Road, comprising a substantial portion of Detroit's 10th precinct. Uniformed officers converged on the area, executing 20 search warrants. The primary target was narcotics activity, but arrests were made for other offenses as well. While a complete tally of arrest numbers has not yet been released, the early hours of the raid yielded at least three dozen arrests.
The high-profile, sweeping raid has become a major component of the Detroit Police Department's policing strategy over the past few months. In November, Detroit police surround an apartment complex in east Detroit with dozens of vehicles, including a helicopter, and searched the premises for criminal activity, resulting in 32 arrests. Another raid earlier in December involved at least 150 police officers and yielded 42 arrests.
While most of these raids target well defined high crime areas, some are more widespread. For example, Michigan participated in a nationwide drunk driving initiative over the weekend of December 20 called Operation Care Lifesaver Weekend.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced that more raids are coming in the New Year; sometime in early January, an army of cops will descend on an as yet undisclosed Detroit neighborhood to execute "Operation Icebreaker."
With the spate of major police crackdowns, your chance of arrest has never been higher. Yet, even if you have been picked up in one of these sweeps, you have a right to a legal defense to fight the charges against you. If you or a family member has been accused of a crime, get in touch with a Michigan criminal defense attorney today.