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Nine Texas residents were taken into custody on the night of Feb. 27 after deputies from the Titus County Sheriff’s Office executed narcotics search warrants at a residence in Mount Pleasant. The five women and four men face charges ranging from misdemeanor counts of possessing drug paraphernalia to felony counts of narcotics possession and firearm theft. The most serious charges have been leveled against a 29-year-old Mount Pleasant man.

TCSO deputies executed two search warrants at the East Magnolia Street home. A second warrant for a more comprehensive search was obtained after deputies allegedly found evidence suggesting that the residence contained drugs during their first visit. During the second search, deputies claim to have discovered an undisclosed quantity of a substance believed to be methamphetamine, a handgun that a Camp County resident had reported stolen and several used and unused syringes.

Initial media reports do not reveal what evidence led the TCSO to obtain the first search warrant, but they do state that the home is located directly across the street from an elementary school. The suspects face harsher penalties because schools, parks, swimming pools and playgrounds are designated drug-free zones in Texas.

Criminal prosecutions are time consuming and expensive, and district attorneys generally try to resolve minor narcotics cases at the negotiating table to avoid the costs of a trial. Before entering into plea negotiations, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study case files and interview their clients to discover mitigating factors that could persuade prosecutors to take a more lenient approach. Such factors could include genuine regret over the actions in questions, involvement in community activities, gainful full-time employment and the support of relatives, co-workers and friends. If their clients maintain that they are innocent and the evidence against them is less than convincing, attorneys may forego a negotiated settlement and choose to argue the facts before a jury.