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California to Minnesota drug trafficking operation busted

Drug trafficking charges can carry serious penalties. Federal and state laws penalize the distribution and trafficking of illegal substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine. Penalties for federal drug trafficking charges, however, are particularly harsh, something one Minnesota man and his nine co-defendants are currently learning all too well.

According to a recent report, a 45-year-old Minnesota man was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for trafficking drugs between California and Minnesota bewteen 2005 and 2010. The man pled guilty for his part in the operation. Nine other defendants were also charged for their part in the operation. The others also pled guilty, with six already receiving their sentence.

The Minnesota man admitted to being the leader of the drug trafficking operation as part of his plea agreement. He was ultimately charged and sentenced for money laundering and conspiracy to distribute five or more kilos of cocaine and more than 100 kilos of marijuana. The drug trafficking and drug distribution operation allegedly made him millions of dollars.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, a person with more than 500 grams of cocaine faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison. To put that in context, 5 kilograms equals 5000 grams. Based on this information, the plea deal he reached with prosecutors may have actually been a pretty good deal. Without it he may have gone to prison for much longer.

In criminal cases , there are almost always deals to be struck. Whether to consider a deal depends on the situation. In some cases, a deal like the one above may be good, particularly when the alternative is a virtual life sentence. At 45 years old, a 20-year sentence actually means the man can look forward to being released. With the option for parole, it might not even be that long.

Source: CBS, "Man Gets 21 Years In Large Drug Trafficking Operation," Nov. 27, 2012

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