A Jefferson Country grand jury recently returned a 49-count indictment against 16 individuals in violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA). The Justice Department claims the indictment shattered an interstate smuggling ring distributing methamphetamine and cocaine in Colorado, Arizona and California. Charges include money laundering, distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Officials seized almost $22,000 in cash.
Is there a big difference between you being arrested with more marijuana than you are allowed to possess and what these defendants are up against? You bet. The substance in question makes a great deal of difference. So does whether you’re sharing controlled substances or exchanging them for money, whether you are transporting it, and where you’re transporting it. For example, transporting drugs across state lines, like the 16 defendants in the indictment, makes the situation much more serious.
Drugs are controlled substances classified under federal schedules that define substances according to their addictiveness. What schedule the substances fall under, along with the circumstances, can largely determine the consequences of a drug conviction. Schedule 1 is the most serious classification. It includes substances such as marijuana, LSD and heroin. Schedule 2 includes substances that are also health risks, but have some acknowledged medical use, such as amphetamines and methamphetamines, opium and methadone.
Normally the distinction between possession and trafficking, as far as one individual is concerned, is a matter of the sheer quantity of drugs involved. It also matters what the evidence shows about intent. If there are others involved in the movement of the controlled substances, or authorities discover large amounts of cash or valuables on the scene, or the individual or individuals involved have a history of convictions, things become increasingly serious.
Selecting a criminal defense lawyer qualified to mount a strong defense for you can be the most important decision you make. Contact an attorney immediately if you are charged or are being questioned for drug offenses.