On Wednesday, eight individuals charged with federal drug and racketeering charges pleaded not guilty to those charges, which arose from an investigation into a Carencro strip club that was closed down back in December. Two other individuals had been charged along with the eight in a May 8 indictment. Trial for all the defendants is scheduled for the end of June.

The strip club, which is reportedly located off of Interstate 49 north of Lafayette, was in operation between 1994 and last December. The charges against the individuals include conspiracy, possession of firearms, and other drug charges

Drug cases often involve numerous criminal charges related to core charges. These additional charges can add numerous penalties that make the case more serious than it already is, and it is important for criminal defendants to build a strong case to counter the efforts of prosecutors.

Take for instance conspiracy charges in drug cases. From a defense perspective, it is important to look at these charges carefully, because it takes surprisingly little evidence for the government to obtain an indictment under federal statutes. For a conviction to happen, prosecutors only need to show that there was a conspiracy, and that the defendant knowingly became a member of the conspiracy for the purpose of furthering it.

Federal prosecutors can support such charges without proving that a defendant did anything in particular to further the conspiracy. Neither do they need to prove that the defendant was a member of the conspiracy for any particular length of time or to any particular extent. 

Source: The Advocate, “Eight enter not guilty pleads in Desperado’s case,” Billy Gunn, May 30, 2013.