A federal judge in Alexandria yesterday denied requests by attorneys for 12 men accused of running an international drug ring to suppress evidence seized by police in five raids.
U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. ruled that the raids, carried out last year in Hanson, Mass., Palm Beach, Fla., and at and near Dulles International Airport, were legal although they were conducted without searcg warrants.
Federal prosecutors argued successfuly that federal agents had reason to think illegal activity was occurring but lacked time to obtain the warrants, and that their lives might have been endangered.
According to court papers, the raids netted 1,500 pounds of marijuana, 800 pounds of hashish and more than $200,000 in connection with the ring's operations. The men are scheduled for trial Nov. 27.
In the key raid, U.S. Customs agents searched 67 crates of brass door knockers without a warrant at Dulles and found hashish hidden in the crates. The raid led to the arrest and later indictment of the men on various conspiracy, drug and racketeering charges.
Bryan ruled illegal a sixth raid in Ashburn, Ga., in which police stopped a car for a traffic violation, pried open the trunk and opened plastic bags containing marijuana. Bryan said police had insufficient evidence of criminal activity to justify a search on the spot.