DEA task force members have arrested five people who have been allegedly running a drug trafficking ring that ran from Texas to Minnesota and North Dakota.
Susana Serrato has been on the DEA’s watch list for almost a year after agents heard that she was transporting methamphetamines from Texas to Minnesota with the intent to distribute. A criminal informant told DEA officers that Serrato, along with her brother Guadalupe Serrato, and his wife Patricia Serrato, would be making the trip from Texas to Minnesota again in early June to deliver and distribute methamphetamines.
By tracking the suspects’ phones and vehicles, officers were able to locate the Serrato family at a CostCo in West Fargo where a deal took place. Susanna Serrato was allegedly selling meth for $17,000 a pound. At the time of the arrest, she had two pounds of meth in her purse.
Guadalupe and Patricia Serrato were also present at the time of the arrest. Their two accomplices, Anna Sanchez and Carlos Lopez, drove and watched the vehicle as the deal was conducted. The four face conspiracy to commit felony charges, which is considered a class AA felony in Minnesota.
Susanna Serrato faces felony charges for delivery of methamphetamine. If she is convicted, she will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Minnesota
Considering all of the ways you can be charged on drug offenses, trafficking (especially across state lines) has the most severe punishments and is taken the most seriously under state and federal law.
The penalties for drug trafficking vary based on the type of drug(s) involved. Drugs are classified as Schedule I-V in Minnesota. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous. Depending on the chemical makeup of the drug, different types of methamphetamines are classified as a Schedule I or II drug in our state.
Even simply possessing any amount of methamphetamine in Minnesota is considered a fourth-degree controlled substance crime. You could be sentenced to 15 years in jail and/or receive a $100,000 fine.
Keep in mind that these penalties are just for a possession charge, and only apply if this is your first conviction.
For example, if you are caught selling under three grams of meth, you could be sentenced to 20 years in jail and/or receive a $250,000 fine. A previous conviction can bump that sentence up to 30 years in jail.
Federal Consequences for Drug Trafficking
The above penalties apply to Minnesota state law, but do not necessarily dictate the sentences of Susana Serrato and her crew. Since the five arrested in West Fargo brought methamphetamines across state lines, they may face federal charges.
Federal courts can take over a state case if they believe that the crimes affect federal law enforcement. Federal courts and penalties vary slightly from the penalties issued by Minnesota state law, but methamphetamines are still considered a Schedule II drug.
Federal sentencing states that people who have been caught dealing over 5 grams of pure methamphetamine or 50 pounds of mixed methamphetamines should receive 5-40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5 million. This is for first-time offenders.
Getting charged with drug crimes, whether you are charged at the state or federal level, can be confusing, scary, and expensive. Sentencing guidelines are not always clear and continue to change. For a free consultation with an experienced drug crimes lawyer, contact 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 (2014–2016), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2016), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2016).