Federal Drug Trafficking

Federal law prohibits the possession, transportation, sale, or manufacture of many substances, and uses harsh penalties to act as a deterrent and aid in enforcement. While federal drug trafficking often involves crossing state lines, entry into the United States at airports or seaports, and international organized crime, these are not required before federal drug trafficking charges may present themselves.

These illegal substances are arranged into schedules, and have varying penalties based on where the drug in question lies in the scheduling scheme, weights possessed or manufactured, and a defendant’s criminal history.

This is in addition to any state charges that apply, and contrary to popular myth, are not merely “cancelled out” by the double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution.

Drug Schedules

Schedule I and II Drugs

Schedule I drugs are identified as those with no currently accepted medical use that have a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs may have medical uses, but have a high potential for abuse and/or high risk of mental or physical dependency.

Schedule I drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Marijuana and other substances derived from it
  • Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
  • And others

Schedule II drugs include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Fentanyl
  • Ritalin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • And others

Possession, transport, and sale of Schedule I and II drugs carry penalties based on weight, and whether or not a person has been convicted of trafficking in the past. However, penalties can be as high as life in prison, will always be punished by at least 5 years in prison, are often as high as 40 years in prison, and are punished by fines in the millions of dollars.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs still have a risk of creating mental or physical dependence, but the risks are not as high as schedule I and II drugs.

Schedule III drugs include:

  • Ketamine
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Testosterone
  • Some drugs containing codeine
  • And others

Schedule III drugs carry penalties of up to 3 years in federal prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, depending on the circumstances.

What is Trafficking?

Trafficking is more than the mere movement of controlled substances across imaginary lines. Any possession, manufacture, or sale of controlled substances is unlawful.

However, there are a few requirements that the government will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you possessed a controlled substances intentionally. This means that accidental possession is not enough e.g. simply being present in a car with drugs in the trunk.
  2. That you possessed a certain weight of the controlled substance in question. If a specific law states that 28 ounces or more of cocaine is trafficking, then the government must prove that you actually possessed that amount.

However, evidence related to revenues, assets, firearm possession, money laundering, and form of travel could also be relevant to how the government prosecutes drug trafficking and how a licensed criminal defense attorney responds.

Defenses

Since conviction and penalties require proof of specific drug types in specific amounts, the range of defenses are heavily fact dependent, meaning you want a licensed criminal defense attorney to examine your case. Defenses could include issues with how alleged drugs were tested for identification, contamination, mistakes in weighing, issues with purity, and potential constitutional issues related to how law enforcement searched and/or seized alleged drugs.

Your licensed criminal defense attorney will spend the time explaining the facts and your options.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

Read our last articles

Case Evaluation

We Respond Immediately

Call Now For a Free Case Review
Seppi Esfandi

© 2017 Los Angeles Criminal Defense & DUI Attorney Seppi Esfandi. All Rights Reserved | Seppi Esfandi Law Scholarship





DISCLAIMER: This website is specific to general guidelines pertaining to criminal justice, criminal defense, DUI, drunk driving, DMV hearing, drivers license suspension, juvenile crime justice, sex offender laws, violent crimes, white collar crimes, or other legal criminal defense. Any information set forth in this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a criminal lawyer, Criminal Defense Attorney, juvenile law attorney, Sex Offender Attorney, Domestic Dispute Lawyer, Violent Crime Attorney, White Collar Attorney, or drunk driving / DUI lawyer. Nothing herein is intended to nor constitutes a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your specific legal matter. Every case is unique and outcomes will vary depending on the facts and legal history of your case.

AREAS SERVED: Central California Region, Southern California Region, West Los Angeles Area, Downtown Los Angeles, The Community of Agoura Hills, Alhambra, The City of Arcadia, Baldwin Park Area, The Neighborhood of Bell Gardens, Bellflower, The City of Beverly Hills, The City of Burbank, Calabasas, The City of Carson, Cerritos, The City of Claremont, Commerce, The City of Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Culver City, The City of Diamond Bar, The City of Downey, The City of Duarte, The City of El Monte, The City of El Segundo, Gardena, The City of Glendale, Glendora Area, The Community of Hawaiian Gardens, The City of Hawthorne, The City of Hermosa Beach, The Hidden Hills, Huntington Park Area, City of Industry, The City of Inglewood, Irwindale, La Cañada, The City of Flintridge, The City of La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, La Verne, Lakewood Area, The City of Lancaster, Lawndale, The City of Lomita, The City of Long Beach, The City of Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, The City of Maywood, The City of Monrovia, Montebello, The Community of Monterey Park, Norwalk, The City of Palmdale, The Neighborhood of Palos Verdes Estates, The City of Paramount, The City of Pasadena, Pico Rivera Area, The City of Pomona, Rancho Park Area, Palos Verdes, The City of Redondo Beach, The Neighborhood of Rolling Hills Estates, Rosemead Area, San Fernando Valley, The City of San Dimas, San Gabriel Area, The City of San Marino, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, The Community of Santa Monica, Signal Hill, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, The City of South Gate, South Pasadena Area, Temple City, The City of Torrance, Tustin, The City of Vernon, West Covina, Walnut, Westlake, The Community of West Hollywood, Village Whittier, The City of San Diego, and Las Vegas Nevada.