In December 2020, two California truck drivers were arrested when Indiana State Police found 50 kilos of cocaine among the 18,000 pounds of minced garlic they were transporting in a semi-trailer. The men were charged with possession of cocaine, a Level 3 Felony. For the moment, the State has not charged them with drug trafficking. If it does, the men will find themselves facing up to 30 years in prison–nearly double the maximum prison sentence for cocaine possession.
If you are charged with the serious crime of drug trafficking, you will need a highly experienced criminal defense team. Here’s what you need to know about drug trafficking and the accompanying criminal charges.
What is drug trafficking?
Drug trafficking is when a person sells, transports, or imports unlawful controlled substances. As it is both a federal and state crime, an individual accused of drug trafficking can be charged with violating both laws. It is almost always a felony offense that carries severe penalties.
What are the penalties for drug trafficking in Indiana?
The penalty for an Indiana drug trafficking conviction varies depending on the type and quantity of drug an individual traffics.
Indiana law models federal law in that all drugs fall in one of five scheduled categories. Each schedule reflects the degree of a drug’s acceptable medical use and potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are those that the government has deemed to have a high potential for abuse, such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, and marijuana. Schedule V drugs are considered the least addictive and hazardous and include substances such as cough syrup. Schedule I drugs carry the heaviest penalties, while Schedule V drugs have the lightest.
If you are convicted of trafficking, Indiana law § 35-48-4-1 dictates that the minimum amount of specific Schedule I drugs (1 gram or less), you will face a Level 5 felony. A Level 5 felony carries a penalty of 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If you are convicted of trafficking the maximum amount (10+ grams), you will face a Level 2 felony, which is punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine. The Schedule I drugs with the stiffest penalties include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
Other Schedule I drugs and drugs in different schedules carry less harsh penalties but are nonetheless very serious. For example, if you are convicted of trafficking less than a gram of a drug in Schedule II or III, you face a Level 6 felony, which is punishable by six months to 2.5 years in prison. The penalties increase as the quantity of the drug increases.
Only trafficking the minimum amount of Schedule IV and V drugs may result in a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. The misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year or 180 days in jail, respectively, and may come with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
If you have been arrested for drug trafficking, you must retain an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the qualified criminal defense lawyers of Razumich & Associates to learn how to best defend yourself and protect your rights. We are ready to fight for you. Contact us today.