Drug Distribution and Drug Trafficking
The crime of drug distribution involves the selling, purchase, delivery, importation or manufacture of illegal drugs. If it is above a certain quantity, it may be classified as drug trafficking. That quantity will be spelled out in the statute and may vary depending on the state or federal jurisdiction. The penalties for a drug trafficking violation will be driven primarily by the amount of drugs that a person is responsible for distributing. In the case of a conspiracy, the person will be responsible for the amount drugs the conspiracy distributed during the existence of the conspiracy. If a person joined the conspiracy at a later date, the person is only responsible for the amount of drugs distributed after he joined the conspiracy.
A drug trafficking conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knowingly possessed the illegal drug and that he did so with the intent to distribute it. Call Miami attorney Ken Swartz at the Swartz Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation if you or someone you know has been accused of drug distribution or trafficking.
Possession does not require proof actual possession; it may be proven by constructive possession. For instance, if a person living in Miami has control over the residence used for growing marijuana, the owner could be found guilty of drug trafficking. It is not necessary to prove he had knowledge of the particular drug involved, as long as the person knows he is dealing with a controlled substance.
The distribution element will be met even if a person takes possession of the controlled substance for a few moments. A delivery can take place with actual, constructive or attempted transfer of a controlled substance. Even a person who merely arranges a sale from one person to another, without ever touching the drugs, may be convicted of drug distribution.
A drug conspiracy charge requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an agreement by two or more persons to distribute an illegal drug. The essence of a conspiracy is the agreement to commit the illegal act of distributing any amount of an illegal drug. A person does not have to be apart of the conspiracy from the beginning to be found guilty.
Money laundering charges are often associated with drug trafficking. A person can be found guilty of money laundering if (1) the proceeds are used to promote or carry on an unlawful business or (2) the funds are used in a transaction to conceal the ownership of the funds. Funds seized which are the proceeds of a drug transaction will be subject to forfeiture.
The penalty for the crime of drug distribution will depend largely on the quantity of the drug and the nature of the drug. For instance, the penalty for distribution of crack cocaine or cocaine is 18 times greater than the penalty of powder cocaine. The ratio of crack cocaine to powder cocaine used to be event greater prior to the enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act. Similarly, a kilogram of cocaine will carry a substantially greater penalty than a kilogram of marijuana. In federal criminal cases, the penalties can be found in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manuel.
Drug trafficking 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 over 28 years of experience, he has represented hundreds of cases throughout Florida involving persons charged with drug trafficking offenses.