A drug conspiracy is an agreement to violate the narcotics laws. To convict a person of a drug conspiracy requires, a prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an agreement by two or more persons to distribute an illegal drug. The essence of a drug conspiracy crime is the agreement. A conviction for a drug conspiracy requires proof that:
- Two or more persons come to a mutual understanding to accomplish an unlawful plan (a drug offense) and
- The accused knew the unlawful purpose and willfully joined it.
Proving an agreement exists can be done by circumstantial evidence. The prosecutor may prove the existence of an illegal plan by the conduct of the participants or by other circumstantial evidence of the scheme itself. A person can be charged with both drug conspiracy and with drug trafficking. Do not hesitate to contact Miami lawyer Ken Swartz if you or a loved one has been charged with drug conspiracy.
A person does not have to be apart of the conspiracy from the beginning to be found guilty of a conspiracy. No matter how small a person’s role in the conspiracy, he can still be found guilty. A person can be found guilty even if he made no money in the scheme. A person participating only has to have knowledge of the nature of the conspiracy to be guilty. It is not necessary to know the exact scope of the conspiracy or to know all the players.
Proof of a person’s participation in a conspiracy can be proven by evidence of the slightest involvement. Prove by a reasonable doubt is required nevertheless, but the persons connection to that conspiracy may be slight.
A drug conspiracy charge has other unique features. The prosecutor does not have to prove any drugs actually existed. The prosecutor only has to prove there was the intent to distribute drugs even if the person accused had no drugs to deliver. In the case of a reverse sting, the accused can be found guilty even if the government agents were selling fake cocaine. As long as the accused persons intended to purchase cocaine – for example they showed up with substantial amount of the purchase price – there can be a conviction.
Money laundering charges are often associated with drug conspiracy. A person can be found guilty of money laundering if:
(1) The proceeds are used for an unlawful purpose, or
(2) The funds are used in a transaction to conceal the ownership or nature of the funds.
A person who happens to be present when a transaction takes place but is not aware of the illegal drug transaction is not a member of the conspiracy. In this example, an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer will raise a mere presence defense to a conspiracy charge. For instance, a passenger in a car with another person who is delivering or transporting narcotics is not a participant in the conspiracy. This is a legally recognized defense against a charge of conspiracy and has been successfully raised in drug conspiracies to acquit defendants false accused of participating in the conspiracy.
Drug conspiracy offenses are serious charges that require the highest quality legal representation. Ken Swartz is a Miami criminal defense lawyer who is a Florida Board certified expert in criminal trial law. With many years of experience, he has represented hundreds of cases involving persons charged with drug conspiracy offenses.