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California man pleads guilty to cross-country drug trafficking

Drug trafficking refers to the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics. Penalties for federal drug trafficking charges tend to be more severe than the penalties handed down for a possession conviction. Under federal law, a person convicted of moving 500 grams of cocaine faces a minimum 5-year sentence. A second offense doubles the minimum prison sentence. Recently, a California man pled guilty to trafficking multiple kilos of cocaine between states.

Following a long and intense investigation by federal investigators, the California man ended up admitting to being a part of a massive drug trafficking operation that functioned between 2008 and 2009.

The operation, which was based in California, moved drugs from the West Coast to the Midwest in large quantities. For example, in his plea, the man admitted to helping move 6 kilograms of cocaine and 5 pounds of methamphetamine in January 2009 alone.

According to investigators, the drug trafficker used couriers to transport the narcotics across the country. Vehicles and houses used to stash the drugs were registered in the names of multiple accomplices.

The sentencing phase of the criminal trial is set to take place in a few months. The defendant is facing a possible sentence of no less than 10 years in federal prison, but could receive a life sentence. He may also face a fine of up to $4 million.

It may seem strange for someone to plead guilty when faced with such severe penalties, but every case is unique. For example the man may have been offered a plea deal by prosecutors. Sometimes, in exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors will agree to recommend a reduced sentence for the crime. Ultimately, it is the defendant's decision whether to accept a plea, but it may be best to consult with a legal professional before making such a profound decision.

Source: Kansas City Kansan, "California man pleads guilty in $3 Million drug case," Dec. 18, 2012

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