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Prosecutors seek death penalty in drug trafficking case

The United States Attorney's Office takes the prosecution of federal drug offenses very seriously. In recent months there have been a number of cases in California involving marijuana. Despite the state's own marijuana laws, individuals have been tried under federal law for such offenses as federal drug trafficking and drug distribution.

Federal prosecutors in California are currently considering whether or not to pursue the death penalty in a federal criminal case involving a California man accused of killing one man and injuring another at a large-scale marijuana farm. According to reports, the man shot the men during an altercation over payment for services rendered at the farm. The men were allegedly hired to tend to more than 1,500 marijuana plants.

The man at the center of the dispute has been charged with murder during the commission of a narcotics offense, possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana plants and the use of a firearm in relation to a federal drug trafficking offense. If convicted the man could face life in federal prison or the death penalty and a fine of $10 million.

Prosecution for federal drug trafficking charges can be incredibly harsh. Unfortunately, if a murder occurs during the commission of a federal drug crime, prosecutors can also seek the death penalty. In such cases it is vital that individuals accused of such crimes craft a sound defense strategy. Getting the right information on different options could very well be the difference between life and death.

Source: The Times-Standard, "Feds eye death penalty in Humboldt County murder; prosecutors still weighing capital punishment in Kneeland pot farm slaying," Thadeus Greenson, July 14, 2013