Many drug cases involve a person who is arrested at a traffic stop or some other encounter in which police find drugs in the person’s possession. However, often what police and prosecutors really want to do is not to arrest typical drug users, but to break up the rings of drug distribution.
Recently, federal prosecutors in Baton Rouge indicted 18 people in what they said was a large ring that trafficked in heroin. Prosecutors said federal and state law enforcement officials had seized significant amounts of heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine from defendants in the case, as well as guns, cars and more than $300,000 in cash.
Of the 18 people indicted, 14 were from Louisiana, according to news reports. They will face numerous federal charges, including drug trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and weapons charges.
The penalties that come with a conviction on drug trafficking charges are much harsher than those that come with conviction on possession charges. Penalties are elevated for certain classes of drugs, including heroin.
Large-scale prosecutions of alleged drug trafficking operations can be highly complex. They can also sweep up people who were barely involved in the operation — or perhaps even wholly innocent of it — and treat them as though they were high-level drug kingpins. If these people are convicted, they could be spending decades behind bars and face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
When the stakes are this high, it is crucial for the accused to have advice and representation by skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers. An attorney can help defendants to understand the strategies that can help protect their rights, their liberty and their futures.
Source: The Advocate, “18 indicted in heroin-trafficking ring based in Ascension Parish, Houston,” Joe Gyan, Jr., March 22, 2017