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Federal drug trafficking investigation nets 17 gang members

California state and federal drug trafficking laws make it illegal for individuals to sell, transport and illegally import certain controlled substances such as methamphetamine, heroine, cocaine and marijuana. Penalties for drug trafficking offenses can range dramatically depending on a variety of factors such as the type of drug involved in the transaction, the amount of the substances and a person's past legal history.

A yearlong federal investigation conducted by a multi-agency task force, including agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, has resulted in charges against 17 gang members. Law enforcement report that the group is being charged in connection with a drug trafficking operation that allegedly sold drugs purchased in Mexico on the streets in California.

Authorities claim that the gang members were provided methamphetamine and heroin by an organization in Mexico that was directly linked to a member of the Mexican Mafia, a California prison gang. Authorities conducting the federal investigation reportedly relied on surveillance operations, controlled purchases and a confidential informant. At least three suspects are still believed to be in Mexico.

Under the federal Controlled Substance Act, controlled substances such as methamphetamine and heroin are classified according to schedules. Heroin, for example, is a schedule I substance. A first offense for federal drug trafficking offense that involve a schedule I or schedule II substance could result in a significant prison sentence.

Considering the very serious nature of a conviction on federal drug offense individuals accused of such crimes may want to seek help in facing such charges. Doing so may allow individuals to maintain their innocence.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Officials charge 17 in drug trafficking case linked to Mexican Mafia," Robert J. Lopez, Nov. 20, 2013

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