Local police officers claim they’ve seen the effect drug trafficking can have on an area: pain and suffering from families where the drugs are abused, and an increase in the number of crimes committed wherever the drugs are coming in. Because of this, law enforcement officers are cracking down on drug traffickers here in Minnesota.
Last year, 41 people – yes, 41 people – were indicted for being members of a multi-state drug trafficking ring in northern Minnesota and North Dakota that sold heroin, oxycodone, and other narcotic and prescription drugs mostly to Native Americans. The seized drugs totaled well over $1 million and included 1 kilogram of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, and hundreds of prescription pain pills.
This high-profile case only cements the fact that law enforcement in our state is committed to busting drug traffickers, especially heroin traffickers. Minnesota has some of the purest heroin throughout the United States, and the cost of a hit of heroin can be as cheap as a movie ticket. With these factors at play, heroin has become a widely abused drug that is destroying many families across the state.
When discussing this heroin epidemic, U.S. District Attorney Andrew Luger said, “If you sell heroin in our state, we will use every tool available to us to arrest you, investigate you, and put you behind bars…We will do everything we can to protect every person in Minnesota, in every corner of Minnesota, from heroin trafficking.”
These harsh words don’t bode well for those who are currently facing drug trafficking charges, but your case isn’t hopeless. With the help of an experienced Minnesota drug trafficking attorney by your side, you may be able to get those charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed depending on the facts of your case. And certain facts can be crucial to building an aggressive defense to protect both your rights and your freedom.
But first we need to understand what a drug trafficking charge in Minnesota means. So let’s look at 3 facts you might not know about drug trafficking.
1. Drug trafficking depends on the amount of drugs. When we think of trafficking, we often think about importing and exporting drugs across state or country borders. And while that can be trafficking, there has to be a minimum amount of the drug in question for it to actually be trafficking. The idea behind this is that an excessive amount of a drug couldn’t possibly be for personal use – it must be for distributing and selling.
So simply possessing a minimum amount of a drug can be seen as trafficking under Minnesota law, including:
- 25 or more grams of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine
- 500 or more grams of a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine
- 500 or more grams or 500 or more dosage units of amphetamine, hallucinogen, or phencyclidine
- 100 or more kilograms of marijuana
You could be punished with up to 30 years in jail, up to $1 million in fines, or both for having these amounts of controlled substances. If you also have the minimum amounts of these drugs and you cross state borders, you can spend up to 35 years in jail and have to pay up to $1,250,000 in fines.
2. Drug trafficking is a federal crime, too. Along with being illegal under Minnesota law, drug trafficking can also be a federal crime. So you can face both state and federal charges simultaneously.
How can you get a federal drug trafficking charge?
If any drug trafficking activity crosses state lines or involves activity in more than one state, you can be charged with a federal drug trafficking offense. And federal penalties are usually more severe than state penalties. For the same amount of drugs above, you’re looking at 5 to 40 years in prison as well as up to $5 million in fines.
3. You have to be aware of the drugs to be convicted on drug trafficking charges. If you didn’t know there was 100 kilograms of marijuana in the trunk of a car you borrowed from your friend, you can’t be convicted on trafficking charges. Your possession of the drugs has to be intentional, and if you’re unaware that the drugs are there, the prosecution won’t be able to get a conviction. If, however, the drugs were in your personal possession or you had control over where the drugs were, then you can possibly be convicted of trafficking.
Learn more about possible ways to fight your charges by reaching out to us today.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).