It is too easy nowadays to assume that someone is guilty of whatever crime they allegedly committed. This is especially true of drug crimes, where readers of a drug arrest story may be inclined to simply presume the people involved to be guilty. Though this line of thinking is not exactly excusable, it is certainly understandable. There are many cases where people are accused of drug crimes and then found guilty of their crimes.
However, there are also plenty of cases where a person accused of drug crimes has had the case dropped against him or her, or the accused person has received reduced penalties due to the relatively weak case the prosecution presented. There are many reasons that a person accused of a crime can be let off, and in many of these cases it is either due to police negligence or quality criminal defense representation.
For seven people in Queens, New York, they will need to consider their legal options after they were arrested for allegedly running a heroin drug ring at an auto repair shop. The drug charges will apply at the federal level; and though the charges were not listed in the source article, it is likely the seven people will face conspiracy charges.
Conspiracy charges in drug cases are tricky. They rarely mean much literally. For example, what does one have to do to constitute participating in a drug ring? Do you merely have to associate with the people supposedly involved? Do you have to handle drugs? Do you need to discuss strategy? These conspiracy charges can be flimsy; so though they are very serious, a defendant may be able to combat the charge.
Source: NBC New York, "7 Arrested in Queens-Based Heroin Network Takedown: Sources," Joe Valiquette, Aug. 27, 2013