Three West Palm Beach residents have been charged by the federal government with the trafficking of over 30 lbs of crystal methamphetamine. All three defendants are Mexican nationals. The three men are charged with attempting to move 30 lbs of crystal meth from Atlanta to West Palm Beach. The government put a stop to the plan when two of the three men charged delivered the 30 lbs of crystal meth to an undercover officer. The third man, who is being charged in Wisconsin, is charged with coordinating the logistics.
If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison with a possible life sentence looming on the horizon. The bust was coordinated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
What is OCDETF?
The agency is a broadscale effort to coordinate federal, state, and local police in an effort to stop high-level trafficking. The department’s job is to find the highest-level drug dealers, money launderers, and other criminal services that help the drug trade. The effort is to curb “transnational” criminal efforts.
Federal drug trafficking charges
When people think of the word “trafficking” they think of illegally moving large quantities of drugs from one place to another. Nonetheless, one can be charged with “drug trafficking” even for simple possession. Essentially, trafficking charges can be triggered when an individual possesses more than a certain quantity of a specific drug. These quantities would likely be larger than one person could potentially use in a day, but not necessarily enough to turn a profit on.
For example, anyone caught with more than 5 grams of crack cocaine can be found guilty of trafficking. Meanwhile, it would take over a pound of powdered cocaine to trigger the same charges. Why?
Well, one of the best explanations is systemic racism. Since crack cocaine is more often found in inner-city neighborhoods, those in possession of it face stiffer penalties than those found in possession of powdered cocaine which is the drug of choice for weekend warriors and white-collar enthusiasts. In essence, because poor people are more likely to smoke crack than blow coke, the government sees fit to punish them much more harshly than their rich counterparts.
Just to be certain, 500 grams is well over 1 lb of cocaine, while 5 grams is less than a quarter of an ounce.
It used to be that someone in possession of 5g of crack cocaine could face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years probation while someone possessing a half a pound of cocaine would not be charged with trafficking charges. Those mandatory minimums have been lifted, but mandatory minimums are still in place for certain trafficking offenses. A mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years would be applied to the aforementioned cases. The moral of the story is: Don’t do drugs that poor people do.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing federal drug trafficking charges, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to set up an appointment and discuss your defense strategy.