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Federal Drug Trafficking

Federal Drug Trafficking is a federal drug charge that accuses an individual of the possession of one or more controlled substances with the intent to distribute across state lines. You run the risk of a federal drug trafficking charge the moment you cross state boundaries with any controlled substance. The idea behind a drug trafficking offense is that you are selling it to others with no legal authority and with no valid purpose.

According to the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), Texas contains the highest districts for drug trafficking offenders. For the fiscal year 2017, the Western district of Texas had 1,605 offenses, and the Southern district of Texas had 993. When analyzing offender demographics, the USSC also found that almost half of drug trafficking offenders had very limited or no previous criminal history. If you are charged with a federal drug trafficking offense, you need to seek an experienced legal counsel to help you defend you under the court of law.

Attorney for Federal Drug Trafficking in Houston, TX

The laws involving federal trafficking are stringent, and if you find yourself in the middle of a charge, you need to prepare yourself and your loved ones. The road to defense for a drug trafficking charge is a hard one. The only way to be ready is by having a team of experienced attorneys by your side. The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC is a trusted team of lawyers that can deliver results in your defense.

The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC sits with you and analyzes your cases step by step while providing confidential and honest legal advice. Get started by calling (832) 530-4070 for a free consultation with no attachment. The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC works with clients charged with federal drug trafficking in Houston, Friendswood, Pearland, Baytown, La Porte, Seabrook, and Galena Park.


Federal Drug Trafficking Overview


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What is Federal Drug Trafficking?

The policing of drugs and controlled substances was formally established with the development of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Since the 1970s, the DEA has implemented itself in states like Texas to persecute drug trafficking offenses.

What then is drug trafficking? Drug trafficking is the mechanism by which materials are assembled and put together to produce drugs and how drugs are manufactured and distributed for sale.

Does that mean you have to produce the drugs you are selling to be convicted of drug trafficking? Not necessarily. You can be charged with federal drug trafficking if you happen to possess a criminal quantity of a controlled substance. You can also be suspected of federal drug trafficking if you’re the seller or transporter or in some cases, even the consumer.

What about marijuana? Under Federal law, marijuana is still considered illegal. If you’re found with cannabis in another state where it’s not legal, you’ll face charges within that state. Marijuana isn’t exempt to federal drug trafficking offenses either. The moment when you’re caught moving marijuana from one state to another, you can be charged with drug trafficking, regardless of the state’s own legality. Additionally, any substantial amount of marijuana can be viewed as suspicious. Remember, not all states have the same allowable amount of marijuana possession, so what’s not a lot in one state may be seen as distribution in another.


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Federal vs. State

The federal government prosecutes individuals or members of organizations who are involved in trafficking-controlled substances across state lines. In any crime, crossing the threshold from one state to another makes the crime federal.

Other ways in which a state drug trafficking charge can turn federal quickly include:

  • a witness before the government has named you in other drug-related cases
  • a federal officer arrests you
  • the nature of the offense is suspicion enough to be considered federally warranted
  • the possession amount is well beyond what’s allowable inside the state

The main difference between titling drug trafficking as state or federal is the punishment. In most cases, federal drug crimes are more severely punishable than state crimes. If charged with a federal crime, your name also appears on federal records, leaving your name vulnerable in any future drug-related incidents.


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Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties

Federal Drugs in the U.S are in categories according to schedules (substance type):

Note: only drugs with a strong presence in the U.S drug-trade are listed below

• Schedule I —Heroin, Marijuana
• Schedule II — Methamphetamine, Powdered Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine, Oxycodone

All of the listed drugs (except for marijuana) have the same punishments but can vary by possession amount and group affiliation.

  • 1st Offense — 5-40 years in prison if no serious injury or death resulted from trafficked drugs as well as a fine not to exceed $2 million.
    • If serious injury or death did result from trafficked drugs, the prison sentence is increased to 20 years to life; the fine remains the same.
  • 2nd Offense — ten years to life in prison if no serious injury or death resulted from trafficked drugs as well as a fine not to exceed $4 million.
    • If serious injury or death did occur as a result of trafficked drugs, the prison sentence is altered to life imprisonment while the fine remains the same.

On the other hand marijuana possession has the following penalties that also varies by amount and group affiliation:

  • For possession of <50 kg of Marijuana or 1-49 plants, the penalties for first and second offenses are as follows:
    • 1st offense —No more than five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000.
    • 2nd offense — No more than ten years in prison and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
  • For possession of 50-99 kg of Marijuana or 50-99 plants, the penalties for first and second offenses are as follows:
    • 1st offense — No more than 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $1 million.
      • If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to 20 years to life while the fine remains the same.
    • 2nd offense — No more than 30 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $2 million.
      •  If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to a mandatory life sentence while the fine remains the same.
  • For possession of 100-999 kg of Marijuana or 100-999 plants, the penalties for first and second offenses are as follows:
    • 1st Offense — 5-40 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $2 million.
      • If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to 20 years to life while the fine remains the same.
    • 2nd Offense — ten years to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $4 million.
      • If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to mandatory life in prison while the fine remains the same.
  • For possession of 1000 kg or more of marijuana or over 1000 plants, the penalties for first and second offenses are as follows:
    • 1st Offense — ten years to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $4 million.
      • If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to 20 years to life in prison while the fine remains the same.
    • 2nd Offense — 20 years to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $8 million.
      • If serious injury or death is a result of the trafficked drug, the sentencing is altered to mandatory life in prison while the fine remains the same.

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Additional Resources

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties PDF – This PDF centralizes all of the most crucial pieces of data about the nature of Federal Drug Trafficking charges onto a two-page document. You can find the specifics of every kind of charge (based on which drug you have) to begin making sense of the particulars of your case.

Quick Facts on Drug Trafficking Offenses PDF – This PDF is a brief compilation of useful data on Drug Trafficking convictions in federal courts. The document provides insight into offenders’ demographics and drug prevalence.


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Attorney for Federal Drug Trafficking in Harris County, TX

A drug trafficking offense is as severe as drug offenses come. But, The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC assures you no to panic. You need to seek an experienced defense team who can make the process easy and organized. The team of attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC is passionate about defending their clients and are transparent about the whole process.

Contact The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC to schedule a free consultation without any strings attached. They will analyze your case and give you a brief overview of the process. From then on, The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC can represent you in court.

If you have been charged with Federal Drug Trafficking in Harris County, Liberty County, Parker County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, or any other counties in the surrounding area, reach out to The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC at (832) 530-4070 to begin preparing your defense today.