Drug trafficking is a major focus of the U.S. federal law enforcement agencies. Federal drug trafficking laws make it illegal to sell, traffic, import or possess illegal substances, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine as well as illegally obtained prescription drugs. While penalties for federal drug trafficking depend on a number of factors, including the type of substance and the quantity possessed. Most penalties include significant prison time and harsh fines.
A federal grand jury in southern California recently indicted 13 individuals for their part in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy. According to authorities, the group made more than $3 million selling drugs. The group was indicted on 29 counts of federal drug offenses including conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess oxycodone, hydrocodone and marijuana. The group was also charged with conspiring to evade currency-reporting requirements.
While the federal investigation is ongoing, authorities claim that the defendants obtained prescriptions for the various substances from a Modesto, California area doctor. The group also recruited additional individuals to obtain prescriptions as well. Federal authorities have stated that the doctor in the matter has not been charged with crime. However, authorities have stated that there could be more arrests and additional people charged in the matter.
Based on the various charges brought against the group, the defendants could face up to 35 years in federal prison and $2 million in fines.
Despite the severity of the charges, however, there are often many defenses available to those accused of drug crimes. For example, the state tends to charge people with federal drug trafficking offenses despite there being no actual sale. Rather, federal prosecutors base their case almost exclusively on the quantity.
Article: Modesto Bee, "Modest residents indicted in multimillion-dollar drug operation," April 18, 2013