Drug crimes that traverse state lines can easily turn into serious legal difficulty for those involved. Something that already has the potential to lead to prison time or hefty fines can be amplified if federal officials become involved.
This is what several Florida residents encountered recently when they pleaded guilty to conspiracy and racketeering charges as a result of their arrest on drug charges earlier this year in Mississippi.
Back in January, three people were arrested en route from Florida to Texas during a traffic stop. Officers recovered four kilograms of cocaine as well as a handgun. A 27-year-old man was driving one car, while two women were in a second car nearby. A fourth person ultimately pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges as well after being arrested in Florida.
The two women told federal agents that the man was the ringleader of the group, packing the vehicles and coordinating the trips. The two women said they were paid $500 per trip to act as drug couriers. They both pleaded guilty to interstate travel in aid of racketeering -- charges that could lead to up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
The man identified as the leader of the group pleaded guilty to two charges: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. He is facing up to six decades behind bars as a result.
Federal charges of any kind, especially drug charges, often carry substantial penalties. Make sure you work with an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney who is committed to protecting your rights and your freedom.
Source: SunHerald, "Florida man pleads guilty to firearms, drug conspiracy charges in South Mississippi," Margaret Baker, July 24, 2015