Border Patrol Agents recently arrested 9 men and seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana in Laguna Beach. While patrolling the Orange County coastline at midnight in Laguna Beach, the Border Patrol spotted a boat near Crystal Cove State Park. There were 7 men on the boat and 2 men waiting on the shore in an SUV. When the men began unloading and loading, the Border Patrol arrested the men and seized 26 bundles of marijuana. The street value of the marijuana is reported to be approximately $1.8 million.
In California, it is a felony to sell, transport or distribute marijuana and the penalties can be quite harsh. However, the penalties are significantly less if the person is transporting or giving away less than an ounce of marijuana. It then becomes a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine. But, even selling a small amount of marijuana is still a felony and can result in serious consequences.
Drug Possession with Intent to Sale
Law enforcement does not have to actually see a sale taking place in order to charge someone with felony possessio with intent to sell. They can rely on the circumstantial evidence at the time of the arrest. Typically, in a situation where no sale was witnessed, the amount of marijuana and the way it is packaged is used as evidence of sales. Also, the presence of scales for weighing, baggies for packaging and/or large amounts of cash are considered evidence of sales. The police also look for text messages and pay/own sheets.
Transportation and/or Distribution of Drugs
When an individual or group of people knowingly transfers an illegal drug from one place to another, they have committed the crime of transportation of narcotics. It doesn’t matter whether they are transporting a small amount or a large amount, it is a serious offense. The act of selling drugs to others is distribution.
Consequences of a Conviction for Drug Trafficking and/or Distribution
There are state and federal laws that govern sentencing of drug traffickers. The penalties vary depending upon the circumstances. Factors that are taken into consideration are: 1) What type schedule drug was it; 2) The amount of the drug; 3) Were minors involved; 4) Was the defendant part of a group or an individual; and 5) The location where the offense took place.
If convicted of drug trafficking, you could be facing many years in Federal Prison. However, there are defenses to this charge, which an experienced criminal defense attorney will be familiar with. Because the sentencing depends upon so many different variables, it is important that the details surrounding the arrest, seizure and interrogation be carefully looked at by your attorney. Paying close attention to the laws as they apply to law enforcement when it comes to search and seizure, as well as any violation of your amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment guards against illegal search and seizure by law enforcement. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police personnel to ignore the law regarding search and seizure, which often times goes unnoticed. A good criminal defense attorney should scrutinize all aspects of the search, seizure and arrest, looking for mistakes or misconduct by law enforcement personnel.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug transportation/trafficking or distribution, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the County in which the arrest took place. Protecting the rights and mitigating the potential prison exposure for you or your family member should be your attorney’s first priority.
If you would like to know more about drug possession and sales, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer William Weinberg at his Irvine, CA office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.