Minnesota, like many states, takes drug trafficking incredibly seriously – and the law reflects that.
In fact, a few years ago Minnesota made some changes to existing laws regarding controlled substances. Now, those found guilty of trafficking controlled substances face severe penalties.
Three accused people are about to experience the harshness of Minnesota drug trafficking laws.
After a six-month investigation, Minnesota law enforcement made three arrests in connection with methamphetamine trafficking that stretched all the way to California. Agents seized six pounds of methamphetamines.
While those arrested are innocent until proven guilty, it’s vital to understand how the law interprets drug trafficking. Understanding the laws and their consequences can help avoid these crimes, especially when unintentional actions qualify as “trafficking”.
Here’s what you need to know about drug trafficking in Minnesota.
Drug Trafficking Laws in Minnesota
Drug trafficking constitutes a global network of cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers who move substantial quantities of controlled substances. Drugs travel from state to state and even country to country.
To be charged with trafficking rather than possession, law enforcement must believe that you had the intent to sell drugs. For example, drugs found in conjunction with large amounts of cash can lead to drug trafficking charges.
In Minnesota, you can be charged with drug trafficking on a few different levels, depending on the amount of drugs found.
First Degree Drug Trafficking
You may be charged with first-degree drug trafficking in Minnesota if you are found in possession of:
- 25 grams or more of methamphetamine, heroin, or cocaine
- 100 kilos of marijuana
- 500 grams of other narcotics
You can also be charged with first-degree drug trafficking if you are caught selling or manufacturing:
- 200 doses of a prohibited hallucinogen
- 50 kilos of marijuana
- 50 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin
- Any amount of methamphetamine
If convicted, you can face up to 30 years in prison and be responsible for fines up to $1 million.
Second Degree Drug Trafficking
Second-degree drug trafficking can be charged if found in possession of:
- 10 or more grams of a narcotic, except heroin
- 3 grams or more of heroin
- 10 kilograms of marijuana
- 50 doses of a hallucinogenic drug
The penalty for second-degree drug trafficking amounts to 25 years in prison and fines as high as $500,000.
Third Degree Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking in the third degree can be charged for possessing:
- Any amount of a narcotic, i.e. methamphetamines, cocaine, or heroin
- 5 kilograms of marijuana
- 10 doses of a hallucinogenic drug
For third-degree drug trafficking in Minnesota, you may spend 20 years in prison and pay fines for as much as $250,000.
Fourth Degree Drug Trafficking
In a school zone, public housing zone, or park, if you are caught with any schedule I, II, or III drugs, you can face this charge. It may also come as a result of selling schedule IV or V drugs to anyone under 18.
Fourth-degree drug trafficking can land you 15 years behind bars and $100,000 in fines.
Fifth-Degree Drug Trafficking
Any schedule IV drug or any amount of marijuana can be charged as fifth-degree drug trafficking. The punishment can amount to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Other Consequences of Conviction in MN
You’re not talking only jail time or fines for drug trafficking in Minnesota. If convicted, other consequences can follow you for a long time.
A criminal record can impact future job opportunities or your ability to secure a place to live.
You can possibly lose your driver’s license or your right to vote. Some charges make you ineligible to receive certain federal student aid or student loans, hindering future education options.
Drug trafficking remains a weighty crime, especially trafficking methamphetamines. If you are found guilty, you might be dealing with consequences for years to come.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand the law and your rights. A solid defense could shield you from lifelong negative effects.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is 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 named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.