As a border state, California has more than its share of drug trafficking cases. In some cases, these are charged at a state level, and in other cases, they are charged as federal crimes. Keep reading to learn more about this and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you require a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
California Law’s Definition of Drug Trafficking
In the state of California, there are broad drug laws that define the transportation and distribution of illegal drugs. When the idea of drug trafficking might bring to mind big rig trucks full of drugs, the truth is that even a person carrying a relatively small amount of cocaine between California and Mexica, or even a legal but not legally prescribed drug like Xanax, can result in drug trafficking violations according to California law.
Specifically, California law defines drug trafficking as transporting, importing into the state, selling, furnishing, administering, or giving away illegal drugs. If done so in a single county, it can lead to a felony offense and three, four, or five years in prison. If a person commits this crime over several non-contiguous counties within the state, then they could face three, six, or nine years in prison.
Note that the charge can also come with aggravating factors that increase the punishment, such as transporting drugs near a school or rehab facility, soliciting minors to help with the trafficking or possession of a large amount of drugs.
Federal Drug Trafficking
While drug trafficking of any amount is illegal under federal law as well, it is most common for minor offenses to be handled by the state. However, if a person is arrested by the DEA, FBI, or another federal agency while transporting drugs across a state border or across the California/Mexico border, then it is likely that federal charges will be filed.
These are more serious charges than state charges. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has mandatory sentences depending on the specific type and amount of drug being transported, as well as the accused’s previous convictions for drug-related crimes. For example, a person with no criminal history can face a minimum of five years in prison if caught transporting any of the following: more than 100 g of heroin, more than 500 g of cocaine, more than 28 g of crack cocaine, more than 5 g of methamphetamines, and more than 100 kg of marijuana.
If you have questions about these or other drug crimes, or if you need to request a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to learn more.