Dallas Police Starlight Program Aims to Expand Following Successful First Year Deterring Criminal Activity
Spectrum News reported on November 12, 2020, that the Dallas Police Starlight Program was aiming to expand after a successful first year of deterring criminal activity. In an article on September 22, 2020, the Dallas Police Department announced the expansion of Starlight, a program that facilitates collaboration between the police department and local businesses and has reduced criminal offenses at participating locations by 35 percent since its inception.
According to Spectrum, Starlight also resulted in a 39 percent decrease in calls for service. The department is aiming to bring at least 20 locations online by the end of the year and said success with the program is measured by analyzing the amount of call data and seeing a reduction as well as reviewing the types of offenses occurring.
The program, which began with three locations in October 2019, is being expanded to four locations that have experienced a high volume of these calls in the past:
- American Dollar Plus Store at 9770 Forest Lane in District 10
- EZ Trip Food Store at 9798 Forest Lane in District 10
- Chevron Gas Station at 9791 Forest Lane in District 10
- Chevron Gas Station at 2944 N. Buckner Blvd in District 7
The Starlight Program has been described by the Dallas Police Department as “21st Century Policing,” and the surveillance cameras installed are able to feed video in real-time back to the analysts in the Real-Time Crime Center. The cost to outfit a location with the technology and the blue flashing lights is about $4,000 – $7,000 per location.
Last month, there were multiple drug bust stories reported over a mere two days. On October 14, 2020, the Alabama News Network reported that five people were arrested in Dallas County after two separate traffic stops ended in drug busts.
Sheriff Mike Granthum said a 40-year-old Selma man and 27-year-old Valley Grande woman were arrested on charges that included possession with intent to distribute and receiving stolen property. A large amount of crystal meth and a stolen gun were found in the vehicle they were in during a traffic stop.
Another traffic stop led to the arrest of two 19-year-old men and one 18-year-old man on drug charges. Sheriff Granthum said when deputies pulled the vehicle they were in over, one alleged offender hopped out and ran.
The following day, KTVT-TV reported that 10 people in Lubbock were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other related drug crimes following “a large-scale federal operation.” Nine members of a Lubbock drug trafficking organization were arrested as part of Operation Los Perros De Nieve organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.
Operation Los Perros De Nieve targeted nine locations in Lubbock and resulted in the seizure of approximately $40,000 in cash, more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and 13 firearms. One suspect remains at-large.
In a 19-count federal indictment, five alleged offenders were charged with gun crimes, including possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, felon in possession of a firearm, and felon in possession of ammunition, in addition to the drug charges. If convicted, the alleged offenders face maximum sentences of up to 40 years, or life in some instances, in federal prison for the drug-related offenses and up to 10 years, or up to life in some instances, for the firearm-related crimes.
That same day, KTVT also reported that 30 members of an alleged methamphetamine distribution ring were charged with drug crimes. Of the 30 alleged offenders, 21 were arrested in “Operation Ice Tank,” led by DEA Dallas’s High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Group, five were bonded over from state custody, and four remained fugitives.
All 30 were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. During the arrests, investigators seized 16 kilograms of methamphetamine, 9 ounces of heroin, and nine firearms.
The alleged leader was the 30-year-old owner of Funky Town Swag, a Fort Worth clothing store. He was aided by his cousin and his girlfriend, allegedly attempting to erect a meth conversion lab inside a residence in Fort Worth.
Inside the kitchen of the home, agents discovered 27 igloo coolers, a bucket of methylsulfonylmethane (a horse vitamin often used as a cutting agent), three jugs of acetone, one container of liquid meth, and two containers of crystal meth. They also found several zip-top baggies of crystal meth stashed inside the washing machine and a loaded revolver in the master bedroom.
If convicted, each alleged offender faces up to 40 years in federal prison.
Drug crimes in Dallas come in many different forms. Possession of a controlled substance is perhaps the most frequent criminal offense people are accused of, and even seemingly minor drug possession crimes can still carry serious long-term consequences.
A person needs to remember the effect that having a drug possession conviction could have on their long-term prospects when it comes to employment or housing matters. When possession of a controlled substance offense relates to larger amounts of drugs, then the criminal charges could be increased.
Felony drug possession crimes could involve serious sentences like the ones described above, with state charges possibly leading to first-degree felony charges when an alleged offender is allegedly in possession of 4-200 grams of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, 4-400 grams of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2, or 200-400 grams of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4. These convictions could result in a sentence of up to 99 years or life in prison as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000.
While many people assume that drug trafficking charges only stem from police breaking up drug deals, the truth is that a person could be accused of drug trafficking simply for being in possession of a large amount of a controlled substance. The type of drug involved in a drug crime will always play a major role in how the case is prosecuted.
Possession with intent to sell is always an interesting criminal charge because authorities often base these charges on circumstantial evidence collected at the scene of an alleged offense. The location of an arrest, large amounts of cash, or certain kinds of drug paraphernalia could all be used as evidence of an alleged offender’s intent to sell in a possession with intent to sell case.
Many of the alleged offenses discussed above also relate to federal charges, which are even more serious than the state charges in Texas. When a person is accused of a federal drug crime, they are going to need to have a lawyer who is qualified to serve in a federal court.
Were you recently arrested for any kind of drug crime in Dallas or a surrounding area of North Texas? You should not assume that you will be forced to plead guilty as the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy may be able to help you reach a more desirable resolution to your case.
Our firm has handled many different kinds of drug charges all over the Dallas area and we are prepared to work hard to help you overcome your criminal charges and be able to move on with your life. We will be able to fully explore all of your legal options with you when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.