Getting in trouble with the law on any drug related charge is a serious offense. It is a criminal offense when two or more people have “conspired” to perform a transaction involving drugs. While making an exchange may constitute a conspiracy charge the scope of such an accusation is very different from that of the usual sale of drugs. If you are faced with a conspiracy charge it is probably in your best interest to meet with a criminal attorney that specializes in such cases and understands the many intricacies concerning the laws around it. According to Wise Geek,
“For a conspiracy charge, prosecutors must be able to show that two or more people met to plan criminal activity. In some regions, people must commit what is known as an “overt act,” an activity clearly linked to the conspiracy, to be considered guilty.”
It is important to understand that the basis of a conspiracy charge is not the completion of a transaction but rather the intention. In other words, an individual need not have succeeded in that act but have had the goal to do so. Here are a few examples of an act that would qualify under a conspiracy charge with drugs.
Examples of a Drug Conspiracy Act
- Kenneth Matthews of Newport News was sentenced to 264 months in prison for his participation in a drug conspiracy and for being an accessory after the fact of murder. His guilty plea included conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine through his association with a criminal organization known as Thug Relations.
- In Columbia, South Carolina, Izell D. Grissett was convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute 500 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine.
- Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty to a $1 billion trafficking conspiracy that was masterminded by his boss. Guzman and eight others were accused of using speedboats, submarines, and even a cargo plane to move drugs from South America to Mexico, and then on to the United States.
- In Houston, a Katy man was accused for his participation in a drug conspiracy that eventually led to the deaths of two teenagers. Charles William Carlton pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute a number of different controlled substances that caused bodily injury or death, and for delivery of a misbranded drug and money laundering.
- Earl St. Claire faces 25 years in prison for drug conspiracy charges for his role in transporting and distributing 500 grams of meth. Considered to be the leader in the operation where others who were arrested looked to him for guidance.
- 46 year old John William Stanley of Pooler, Georgia, was indicted in January of this year on charges of conspiracy involved in the illegal possession and distribution of controlled substances. This former police officer was accused of assisting the conspirators in preventing their apprehension and concealing evidence of crimes instead of reporting them to the proper authorities.
- An Arizona man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and marijuana across the border. The man faces between 10 years to life in prison and a fine of $11,342,000. Prosecutors claim that he conspired with others to distribute and utilized several methods to send the marijuana to the Buffalo area through the US Postal Service.
- On January 16, 2014, eight Overtown residents were indicted on drug conspiracy and distribution charges as a result of their alleged participation in various heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana distribution conspiracies.
- On February 6th, 2014, a 31-year old Halawa prison guard was indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle methamphetamine into the prison, taking bribes and other drug related counts. James “Kimo” Sanders III was charged on one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute.
- On March 12th, 2014, an accused drug kingpin was convicted on conspiracy charges. The 34 year old man was convicted on 13 counts of running a drug conspiracy in Chicago. He now faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
In order to be charged with conspiracy it is important to understand that evidence does not have to support the completion of the act. The prosecutor only needs to prove a mental “intent” to commit a crime on the part of the accused. As explained by the NPC,
“There are several requirements that must be met in order for a defendant to have actually committed the crime of conspiracy. The first prong is that the defendant must have actually intended to agree to commit a crime. The second prong is that the defendant must have intended to accomplish the objective.”
In other words he must have had a plan to pursue his objective when he made the agreement.
There is also a difference between a state conspiracy charge and a federal one. For one thing, the state courts often have many more possible offenses that can fall under the conspiracy charge than you might find at the federal level. The burden of proof can also vary from the state to the federal level as well. As explained at Criminal Law – Free Advice,
“While intent is key in any federal conspiracy case, only “general intent” to violate the law is necessary; proof of the defendants’ specific intent to violate the law is not needed, only an agreement to engage in the illegal act. The end may be legal, but the planned means are illegal.”
A possible example of this would be if two people conspired to sell drugs (illegal act) in order to raise money to pay for a hospital bill (legal). As you can see, the parameters of any conspiracy charge can be very complicated and difficult to interpret even for the professionals. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug solicitation crime it is a very serious offense and you will need help in navigating the legal intricacies of the system. It is important that you seek professional legal advice from a lawyer that specializes in such cases to give you the best possible chances at a defense. Because penalties for such offenses can be very extreme a guilty verdict in such a case could have a major and lasting impact on the rest of your life.