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How law enforcement uses social media to get evidence in drug cases

With the continuing expansion of social media use, law enforcement agencies may be finding it easier to find and track suspects in drug investigations. By now, most people are at least somewhat aware of the likelihood of schools and employers checking their Facebook accounts. Police officers across the nation are also getting into the habit of using social media to find evidence of drug use or trafficking.

Your social media presence

In most cases, officers concentrate their searches on trafficking suspects, not users. They also know that finding the people who buy the product can lead them to those who sell it. For this reason, anyone whose social media network includes a potential suspect can get swept up in the investigation. Once that happens, there is no guarantee that law enforcement will let you off the hook in favor of pursuing bigger targets. Even something as seemingly small as a picture of you at a party where drug use is in evidence can involve you in at least being questioned if not arrested.

Other users' posts can affect you, too

While it is hard to see or control what others post, it pays to be vigilant about content that can put you at risk. One thing to do is to keep tabs on what people post on your own page or comment thread and to delete any questionable content. In addition, make sure that you are not tagged in pictures that are likely to be of interest to law enforcement. Many social media platforms allow you to untag pictures of yourself and to block other users so they cannot access your content or tag. Check your social media platform's terms of use to learn more about how you can protect yourself.

Police social media presence encourages informants

Law enforcement agencies also reach out via their own social media presences, encouraging community members to provide information that could aid in investigations. While police departments have always encouraged people to come forward with tips, social media makes the process exponentially easier. While police resources are limited and most officers do not want to waste time by running after insubstantial leads, this increased ease of bringing someone's name to law enforcement's attention can put even a fairly uninvolved person at risk.

If you have reason to be concerned about involvement in a drug investigation, do not wait for a visit from police officers to take action. Get in touch with an experienced defense attorney who can give you a clear picture of the risks you face and what you can do to minimize them.

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