Parents charged with drug crimes in Pennsylvania

A couple is facing several charges after their son notified police of possible drug activity in the home. Pennsylvania authorities responded to a call from the 10-year-old boy on July 31. The couple now face charges of child endangerment and drug crimes. They were set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 22. 

Police say the boy called 911 while his parents were out of the home. He reportedly told police that he had found syringes consistent with drug use and asked for help. When police arrived, they notified the mother, who was allegedly drunk when she arrived at the scene. The father was not present at this time and could not be reached. 

It is unclear how a search of the home was initiated and conducted, but police say they found eight syringes as well as what they believe to be a crack cocaine pipe. Four packs of what is believed to be heroin were also recovered, as well as other items characterized as drug paraphernalia. The mother has also been charged with public drunkenness.

The burden of proof always lies with the state, which means Pennsylvania authorities are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individuals were engaged in drug crimes and, in so doing at home, endangered their son. Nevertheless, if police did not conduct the search of the home in a manner consistent with the couple's rights, the evidence they seized may be subject to legal challenge in criminal court. This could in turn lead to charges being lessened or even dropped entirely. 

Source: wgal.com, "10-year-old boy calls police after finding syringes in his home, parents charged", Aug. 5, 2016

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