Minnesota law enforcement is working hard to crack down on drug trafficking. In Duluth, a dozen defendants were recently indicted on federal drug trafficking charges. An additional 17 defendants face state felony drug trafficking charges, and up to 40 total arrests are expected in a massive heroin ring bust.
The defendants are accused of working in a supply loop between Chicago, the Twin Cities, and Duluth, and Superior, Wis. Several federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies worked together to bust the ring. The investigation lasted over a year and involved almost 30 undercover operations.
In another case, law enforcement officers in Hennepin County recently seized the highest amount ever of methamphetamine from a Mexican supply route.
Bottom line? The Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Teams are seizing more drugs with a concentrated focus on mid- to high-level drug traffickers. They are targeting those who distribute opioids, methamphetamine, prescription pills and marijuana.
Consequences for drug charges in Minnesota are incredibly severe. Minnesota state laws administer penalties according to the type and amount of drug involved in the case. Drug trafficking charges normally apply if you are accused of manufacturing or distributing an unlawful controlled substance, or if you possess a significant amount of the substance that is beyond the estimated amounts for personal use.
In the most extreme cases where high amounts of drugs are present, offenders will be charged with a first degree felony – that’s an offense that comes with the possibility of a 30- to 40-year prison sentence.
If you are facing charges, we’ll show you what strategies you can use to fight your charges with the help of a qualified Minnesota drug crimes attorney.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges in Minnesota
There are many different possible defense strategies that an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney may employ to fight your charges. Which are most appropriate to use depends on the facts of your case and is something only your lawyer can tell you.
However, it can still be valuable to learn about some of the most common defenses used to fight these types of charges.
Illegal search and seizure
Law enforcement officials must have probable cause before searching your personal property to see if you possess illegal drugs. If your constitutional rights were violated because the police did not have a valid warrant or probable cause, your charges may be reduced or dropped.
Lack of intent
Drug trafficking charges depend on the defendant’s intent to distribute controlled substances. If intent cannot be proven, the charges against you may not be viable.
Lack of knowledge
You may have lacked knowledge that the drugs in question were in your possession. For example, if you were asked to drive a delivery truck from one place to another, but had no knowledge that the truck contained a shipment of cocaine, you may be able to use this defense.
Mistake of fact
Perhaps you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and your identity was mistaken for the actual offender. If the evidence does not prove that you were involved in the crime, this defense may work for you.
This defense works if you were facing threat of harm to yourself or a family member if you did not carry out the task of drug trafficking.
Not for human consumption
In certain cases, this defense can apply. If the material in question is not drugs, but something such as hemp for rope production, you may be able to use this defense to get your charges dismissed.
Again, a skilled attorney will know the defense that will work best for your case.
Fighting Your Minnesota Drug Trafficking Charges
Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. A Minnesota defense attorney with years of proven experience can help you fight your charges.
The defenses listed above are only a sample of what may be available for you. It’s essential to meet with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as charges are filed against you. The sooner you reach out for a free case review, the stronger the defense we can build for you.
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).