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Federal sentencing for drug trafficking can be harsh

Penalties for federal drug trafficking in the United States can vary depending on the specific drug offense. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, cocaine and methamphetamine are schedule II narcotics. In addition to the particular type of illegal substance the guidelines also factor in quantity. Whatever the specific drug charges may be, California residents accused of federal drug crimes may be interested in learning more about how these cases play out.

The U.S Attorney's Office has reported that at least nine individuals were recently indicted in what has been referred to as a family-operated drug-trafficking ring. The operation leading up to the arrests was dubbed "Operation Family Guy." Federal authorities revealed federal investigators had seized 40 kilograms of cocaine with the assistance of wiretaps and undercover operatives. The drugs in that particular operation were being smuggled to Italy from Mexico.

In addition to the international angle of the investigation, the family allegedly oversaw the operation and distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine throughout the United States. The drugs were allegedly being smuggled with the assistance of couriers who worked for the family. In the U.S., the drugs were transported among the various states using vehicles that contained hidden compartments. In addition to the nine people indicted, four others remain at large.

Individuals convicted of trafficking more than 5 kilograms of cocaine or more than 50 grams of methamphetamine are subject to no less than 10 years in prison and not more than $10 million in fines. If death or serious bodily injury occurs as a result of the individual's actions, then the sentence is no less than 20 years and no more than life. Due to the very serious potential consequences for the convicted it is imperative to assess the options for a criminal defense strategy immediately.

Source: Fresno Bee, "9 indicted for international drug trafficking," May 2, 2013

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