Federal Drug Trafficking

One of the most common charges at the center of cases in federal courts is drug trafficking. This is an extremely broad term that can apply to any offense involving the manufacture, import, export, distribution, dispensing of, offer to sell, or the possession of a controlled substance or counterfeit substance with intent to manufacture, import, export, distribute, or dispense.

If a person is convicted of knowingly trafficking illegal drugs, the consequences can be quite severe. Oftentimes these charges carry the possibly of incredibly harsh mandatory minimum sentences that a judge is powerless to deviate from.

Las Vegas Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer

If you are facing federal charges for drug trafficking, you cannot waste any time in contacting an experienced Nevada criminal defense attorney. Michael Pariente is licensed to defend clients in U.S. District Court in Nevada as well as all state courts in the Silver State.

Pariente Law Firm, P.C. represents clients all over Clark County, including Boulder City, Enterprise, Henderson, Laughlin, Mesquite, Nellis Air Force Base, North Las Vegas, Paradise, Spring Valley, and Sunrise Manor. Call (702) 966-5310 for a free consultation that will let our firm review your case and discuss your legal options.

 

Clark County Federal Drug Trafficking Information Center

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties in Nevada

The severity of a federal conviction for trafficking depends on the type of controlled substance, the amount of the controlled substance, and whether the alleged offender has been previously convicted of a drug offense. The following table shows the United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) range of federal trafficking penalties:

Controlled Substance

Amount

Prison Sentence

Fine

Cocaine

500-4,999 grams

First Offense: Mandatory minimum five year sentence up to 40 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $5 million for individuals, $25 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $8 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Cocaine base

28-279 grams

Fentanyl

40-399 grams

Fentanyl analogue

10-99 grams

Heroin

100-999 grams

LSD

1-9 grams

Pure methamphetamine

5-49 grams

Methamphetamine mixture

50-499 grams

Pure PCP

10-99 grams

PCP mixture

100-999 grams

Cocaine

5 kilograms or more

First Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

Third or Subsequent Offense: Life in prison.

First Offense: Up to $10 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $20 million for individuals, $75 million for non-individuals.

Third or Subsequent Offense: Up to $20 million for individuals, $75 million for non-individuals.

Cocaine base

280 grams or more

Fentanyl

400 grams or more

Fentanyl analogue

100 grams or more

Heroin

1 kilogram or more

LSD

10 grams or more

Pure methamphetamine

50 grams or more

Methamphetamine mixture

500 grams or more

Pure PCP

100 grams or more

PCP mixture

1 kilogram or more

Other Schedule I and Schedule II Substances

Any amount

First Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Up to 30 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.

First Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $2 million for individuals, $10 million for non-individuals.

Any drug product containing gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)

Any amount

Flunitrazepam

1 gram or more

Other Schedule III Drugs

Any amount

First Offense: Up to 10 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, up to 15 years in prison.

Second Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, up to 30 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2.5 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.

All other Schedule IV Drugs (other than one gram or more of Flunitrazepam)

Any amount

First Offense: Up to five years in prison.

Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $250,000 for individuals, $1 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2 million for non-individuals.

All Schedule V Drugs

Any amount

First Offense: Up to one year in prison.

Second Offense: Up to four years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $100,000 for individuals, $250,000 for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $200,000 for individuals, $500,000 for non-individuals.

Marijuana

1,000 kilograms or more marijuana mixture, or 1,000 or more marijuana plants

First Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $10 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $20 million for individuals, $75 million for non-individuals.

Marijuana

100 to 999 kilograms marijuana mixture, or 100 to 999 marijuana plants

First Offense: Mandatory minimum five year sentence up to 40 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $5 million for individuals, $25 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $8 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Marijuana

50 to 99 kilograms marijuana mixture, or 50 to 99 marijuana plants

First Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.

Second Offense: Up to 30 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.

First Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $2 million for individuals, $10 million for non-individuals.

Hashish

More than 10 kilograms

Hashish Oil

More than 1 kilogram

Marijuana

Less than 50 kilograms marijuana (Not including 50 or more marijuana plants, regardless of weight), or 1 to 49 marijuana plants

First Offense: Up to five years in prison.

Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $250,000 for individuals, $1 million for non-individuals.

Second Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2 million for non-individuals.

Hashish

10 kilograms or less

Hashish Oil

1 kilogram or less

 

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Clark County Conspiracy Charges in Addition to Federal Drug Trafficking

Just as the definition of trafficking can be very expansive, the same holds true for allegations of conspiracy. Not surprisingly, many federal charges of drug trafficking are often accompanied by conspiracy charges as well.

Title 18 U.S. Code § 371 defines conspiracy as being when “two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy.” Title 21 U.S.C. § 846 specifically criminalizes conspiracies involving the manufacturing, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs.

Conspiracy charges are typically added on to underlying federal charges, resulting in increased penalties. Additionally, a person can be accused of conspiracy no matter how small his or her role and regardless of whether the alleged conspiracy is even committed.

 

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Nevada Options for Mitigating Federal Drug Trafficking Sentences

While trafficking charges may have possible mandatory minimum sentences, there are two statutory provisions that allow for reduced sentences in certain cases. These include:

  • Substantial Assistance — If the alleged offender provides information that leads to the investigation or prosecution of other offenders, the prosecutor may file one of two motions that can result in a sentence below the mandatory minimum terms:
    • 5K Motion — Under §5K1.1 of the United States Sentencing Commission Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a prosecutor may file this motion before sentencing for a sentence reduction based on:
      • The court’s evaluation of the significance and usefulness of the alleged offender’s assistance, taking into consideration the government’s evaluation of the assistance rendered
      • The truthfulness, completeness, and reliability of any information or testimony provided by the alleged offender
      • The nature and extent of the alleged offender’s assistance
      • Any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the alleged offender or his family resulting from his assistance
      • The timeliness of the alleged offender’s assistance
    • Rule 35 Motion — Under Rule 35(b) of Title VII of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a prosecutor may file this motion after sentencing for a reduction of the previously imposed sentence if the alleged offender provided information:
      • That was not known to the alleged offender until one year or more after sentencing
      • That the alleged offender provided to the government within one year of sentencing, but did not become useful to the government until more than one year after sentencing
      • In which the usefulness could not reasonably have been anticipated by the alleged offender until more than one year after sentencing and which was promptly provided to the government after its usefulness was reasonably apparent to the alleged offender
  • Safety Valve Provision — Under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3553(f), certain nonviolent, low-level alleged drug offenders can be eligible for sentences below the mandatory minimum if they meets all five of the safety valve requirements:
    • Alleged offender has little or no history of criminal convictions (no more than one criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines)
    • Alleged offender did not use violence, credible threats of violence, or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the offense
    • Alleged offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person
    • The alleged offender was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise
    • Not later than the time of the sentencing hearing, the alleged offender truthfully provided all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the alleged offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan

 

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Federal Drug Trafficking Defenses in Clark County

The severity of federal charges can often lead those accused of serious offenses to believe that they are powerless to defend themselves. However, there may be several possible defenses against drug trafficking charges. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Alleged offender misidentified
  • Alleged offender unaware of trafficking activities
  • Crime lab analysis errors
  • Drug quantity incorrect
  • Drugs did not belong to alleged offender
  • Entrapment
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Lack of evidence
  • Legal prescription for alleged controlled substances
  • No probable cause
  • No trafficking intent (simple possession)

 

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Find the Best Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer in Las Vegas

A conviction for this type of charge can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to obtain housing, employment, or public benefits. Pariente Law Firm, P.C. works to achieve the most favorable outcome in cases like these for people all over the city of Las Vegas, whether they were arrested on the Vegas Strip or a surrounding area in Clark County.

Michael Pariente fights to defend the rights of clients in federal court as well as state courts throughout Nevada. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case to help you understand your legal options when you call (702) 966-5310 to schedule a free consultation.

Contact Us

Pariente Law Firm, P.C.

3960 Howard Hughes Pkwy. #615

Las Vegas, NV 89169

 

(702) 966-5310

 

[email protected]

 

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