In a surprising case, a promising young opera singer from Tijuana has been charged with drug trafficking in Southern California. The 23-year-old musician, whose repertoire includes Rossini and Verdi, is being accused by federal prosecutors of transporting large quantities of methamphetamine into southern California with the intent to sell. The federal drug trafficking charges carry a penalty of up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
Word of the arrest has shocked the musician's community. Friends of the singer insist that the young man must not have been aware that he was transporting the drugs, since it clashes with his character. The small musical community insists that the singer is not a criminal.
The man was arrested as part of a multi-agency task force targeting drug traffickers near the California border. The arrest took place near a military base after sherriff's deputies pulled the man over. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the man's car contained 44 pounds of meth, which has a street value of up to $500,000.
The recent arrest is one of many recent methamphetamine seizures by federal law enforcement agencies at border crossings. The push to target federal drug trafficking offenses has led to numerous arrests.
Federal drug trafficking charges can carry stiff penalties that need to be addressed aggressively from the minute the charges are filed. In the present case, the 23-year-old man with a promising future could serve 14 years in prison if he is found guilty. However, if those that know the man are correct that the young man did not knowingly transport the illegal substances, he may have a strong defense.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, "Tijuana singer charged with drug trafficking," Sandra Dibble, Oct. 5, 2012