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Federal agencies use national security act for drug cases

Recent terrorism-related attacks, both in this country and abroad, have created demands from some quarters to increase surveillance on those suspected of plotting to do others harm. And while most people find the idea of keeping a close eye on established and potential terrorists a positive thing, it is important to realize the full ramifications of U.S. surveillance policies.

For example, you may be familiar with the recent dust-up between the FBI and the Apple computer company. The FBI wanted apple to unlock an iPhone that was owned by one of the suspects in the terrorism-related mass shooting that took place in San Bernardino. But Apple refused and the FBI relented.

However, it appears that Apple and other such tech companies will continue to have issues regarding the government's requests for personal data. But the attention garnered by the San Bernardino case led to the revealing of something else: government entities have been trying to access personal information from the phones and other devices of those suspected of drug crimes.

In order to request access to such devices as mobile phones and tablets, a federal agency must use what is called the All Writs Act. This act was intended only to be invoked in cases related to national security. But according to research conducted by the ACLU, the act is most frequently employed to try to get information related to narcotics investigations.

What this situation makes plain is that the federal government is willing to use all the powers at its disposal when attempting to make a drug case. And if you should become the target of a federal investigation for drug trafficking, drug manufacturing other such serious offenses, you will likely need an experienced attorney at the ready to help protect your rights.

While federal agencies have many investigative and surveillance tools they can employ for prosecutorial purposes, they cannot overstep their legal boundaries. If have been arrested and now face federal drug charges, an attorney may be able to investigate the legality of the search and seizure of that produced the evidence against you. The attorney could also develop a defense strategy aimed at getting you the best possible outcome.

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