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Feds target California for potential trafficking operations

With more and more states from California to Michigan legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes federal authorities are keeping a close watch for illegal trafficking operations. While the decreased stigma in some areas may give people a sense that marijuana is no longer aggressively prosecuted, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, federal drug trafficking crimes as well as other state and federal drug offenses that involve marijuana, can still land a person behind bars for a very long time.

It was recently reported that a federal court in Kansas City has begun jury selection in a case involving an alleged drug trafficking operation that stretched from Northern California to Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City. According to reports, the two men at the center of the operation are Lawrence twins. The brothers are accused of leading the operation and are among three people still awaiting trial. All of the other individuals involved in the case have accepted deals and may testify at the brother's trial.

According to officials, the trial stems from a long federal investigation into the alleged drug operation that included wiretaps, surveillance and confidential informants. Prosecutors had indicted more than 40 people on drug trafficking charges involving marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. Among those arrested in the case was a Kansas business owner and former Kansas University swimmer. Since both men have prior federal convictions, if they are found guilty they could face a 20-year minimum federal prison sentence.

Facing accusations of drug trafficking or other federal drug crimes is a serious matter whether the charges involve accusations of illegal substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine or marijuana. In fact, an offender with no prior convictions found with 100 kilograms or 220 pounds of marijuana could face no less than five years in prison and $5 million in fines. Offenses for less than 100 kilograms still have an upward cap on sentences not to exceed 20 years, a rather serious penalty for something increasingly legal.

Source: Lawrence Journal World, "Federal trial set to begin in $17 million drug trafficking case," April 16, 2014

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