After a 2 month investigation police in Lawrence, Massachusetts arrested 12 people, 7 drug dealers and 5 of their customers. According to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune the investigation began after the narcotics unit started to receive tips on their hot line about drug activity in lower Tower Hill. The police efforts, conducted with undercover officers engaging in hand to hand purchases resulted in the execution of a search warrant at 10-12 Bedford Street. No drugs were seized during the raid however narcotics distribution paraphernalia was found. After the raid police set up shop in the apartment purporting to be drug dealers themselves. When people arrived to purchase drugs they were arrested.
So the question here is: Were the buyers entrapped. The answer is most likely no. At least once a week someone comes into my office complaining that he was "entrapped". The story always follows one of two scenarios: 1) I was buying drugs from someone who turned out to be a cop; or, 2) I sold to someone who was a cop but he asked me for the drugs and set up the deal. Massachusetts law on entrapment is quite clear. There is nothing improper about police setting traps to catch unwary criminals. It is however improper to implant ideas in innocent minds. Pleading or arguing with a defendant is enough to show entrapment. The key is predisposition. If someone is predisposed to committing a crime there is nothing wrong with law enforcement soliciting the commission of the act. Doing more however is improper and serves as an affirmative defense.
Attorney Stephen Neyman has won three hand to hand sales to undercover police officers in drug trafficking cases. In each of these cases the defense theory of entrapment was advanced and accepted by the jury.