A drug trafficking charge can be a difficult situation to get out of. The charge is severe enough and the penalties strong enough that it could completely change your life. Learning about the charges against you and how to defend yourself from this type of situation will require you to have more than a basic knowledge of what really constitutes a real drug trafficking case.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Trafficking of drugs involves the illegal sale or distribution of a controlled substance. Contrary to what many people may believe, trafficking does not need to imply that drugs have to cross a particular line (a border crossing or state line) but its determination has to do more with the amount of drugs being sold more than anything else. According to Wise Geek,
“Drug trafficking is the term used to describe the production, distribution and sale of illegal drugs… such drugs include cocaine, heroin, PCP, LSD, methamphetamine’s and marijuana. Penalties for trafficking vary, but in most places penalties are intended to be severe enough to discourage individuals from engaging in selling drugs.”
Laws relating to drug trafficking usually come with very harsh penalties designed to discourage the activity. A person facing drug trafficking charges is in serious trouble and will need professional assistance from a legal representative that specializes in drug trafficking cases.
Examples of Drug Trafficking Cases:
|1||March 17, 2014||Police Officer Tyrone Jenkins of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was arrested on drug trafficking charges after a tipster revealed his role in the alleged criminal activity.|
2. February 22th, 2014 – Two dozen men in New York City and southern Italy were arrested at the end of a two-year investigation of international drug dealing conspiracy linking organized crime syndicates.
3. January 30th, 2014 – Three men involved in separate drug trafficking operations in Burlington, New York, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms by a federal court. Brent McDonald was sentenced to 151 months after pleading guilty to four counts of possession and distribution of crack cocaine and heroin. Eric Zuper received 78 months for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine and Kevin Black Harris was sentenced to 151 months for cocaine trafficking.
4. January 29th, 2014 – Francisco Eduardo Casas was charged along with six other people with drug trafficking after they were caught attempting to distribute cocaine. Casas was accused with taking part in trafficking the drugs in stash houses and vehicles.
5. January 28th, 2014 – Rapper Oshay “G Code” Jones was convicted of a drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory five year prison sentence. Jones, along with his brother, sister and two others had been running the drug ring for about three years before getting arrested in 2013 for trafficking crack cocaine, powder cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills and synthetic drugs.
6. November 16th, 2013 – Steward Robert Deerr of Gregory, Michigan, pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised probation after his release.
7. November 13, 2013 – Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in starting a drug-distribution scheme while playing for the Chicago Bears.
8. November 6th, 2013 – A US Border Patrol agent in Yuma, Arizona, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for providing information that helped traffickers move drugs into the United States from Mexico.
9. August 27th, 2013 – Andrew Angle faced five years in prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Federal authorities had labeled Angle as a “major midstate marijuana supplier” for his involvement in bringing the drug cartel into Pennsylvania from New York City and other areas.
10. January 24th, 2012 – Kansas City men, Marcus Quinn and Willie Ford, were convicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine; one count of conspiracy to maintain a residence in the furtherance of drug trafficking; and one count of distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a local Middle School, among other crimes.
Difference Between Distribution and Trafficking
While both drug distribution and trafficking involve the illegal selling, transportation, and importation of controlled substances there are a few differences in the two offenses.
Distribution usually means that a person is selling, furnishing, or delivering a controlled substance and is considered to be a class B felony, which carries a maximum sentence of two to twenty years and a fine of $10,000. If the drugs are distributed to anyone under the age of 18 it becomes a Class A felony without the possibility of suspended sentence or probation.
Trafficking, on the other hand, actually refers to the weight of the substances involved rather than the movement of the drugs as many people may believe. As explained at Get Smart About Drugs,
“Trafficking refers primarily to the weight of the substances involved and not to the movement of the drugs either across state lines or from one person to another. Possession of a controlled substance may become a trafficking charge if the drugs weigh enough.”
It is not necessary for a trafficking charge that the drugs in question have been moved or transported at all.
Penalties for drug trafficking can vary from state to state. More often than not, when the crime is charged on a federal level an individual will be charged with trafficking while on the state level may only reach as high as possession. Federal charges will usually carry a much higher penalty than state charges. As explained in Nolo.com,
“Another difference between federal and state drug laws is the severity of consequences after a conviction. Federal drug charges generally carry harsher punishments and longer sentences.”
This means that if you’ve been charged with a federal drug trafficking offense you may be faced with losing your freedom for the better part of your life. It would be wise to enlist the aid of a criminal attorney to handle your defense and make sure that your rights are completely protected as you navigate your way through the legal system.