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Court dismisses federal drug case for Government’s violation of constitutional rights

After two days of testimony by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the United States District Court in Detroit granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment, and immediately released Jesus Manuel Caro-Villalobos of Silt, Colorado, from custody. The Court ruled that the government clearly violated Mr. Caro’s constitutional right to a speedy-trial. See U.S. v. Caro-Villalobos, EDMI, # 00-80572

Regarding the Court’s decision, Mr. Caro’s attorney, former federal prosecutor John Freeman of Troy, remarked, “This is the worst case of unconstitutional delay I have seen in my career. Justice was served today.”

The government originally charged Mr. Caro with a ten-year mandatory minimum drug offense in 2002, for alleged conduct approximately a decade ago. Then, for the next 7 years (2002 – 2009) the government sat on the sealed indictment and arrest warrant and essentially did nothing to locate Mr. Caro. Finally, in August, 2010, government agents arrested Mr. Caro pursuant to the 8 year-old arrest warrant when he attempted to renew his U.S. Passport.

In dismissing the indictment from the bench, the Court ruled that the government was negligent “to the highest degree” in its efforts to locate Mr. Caro, who lived under the same name and social security number, and at the same address in Colorado that the government knew of since 2001. In addition, evidence at the hearing showed that Mr. Caro has been a United States citizen since 1997, and was registered to vote, paid taxes, and possessed a valid driver’s license, and U.S. Passport.

Mr. Freeman concluded, “It is uplifting to know that the federal government’s blatant violation of a person’s constitutional rights will not be tolerated. Hopefully, the government will think twice before moving forward with such a case in the future. Understandably, Mr. Caro is overjoyed to be reunited with his family.”

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