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Federal Drug Crimes

A Federal Drug Charge can be one of the most difficult things that a person faces. Sophisticated investigation tactics, the seemingly unlimited manpower of the government, and the complex rules concerning law can leave you confused and possibly facing a draconian prison sentence.

Federal Drug Charges

There are many different types of drug charges. Each charge has its own statute, law, specific types of evidence, penalties and defenses.

Simple Drug Possession

Possession of controlled substances without a prescription. These are often charged at the state level if it is determined that there was no intent to distribute.

Drug Manufacturing

Prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 841this can include running an operation for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs; usually involves large amounts of drugs and distribution paraphernalia.

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Drug Importation

Prosecuted under  21 U.S.C. § 952 and 21 U.S.C. § 960, this can include the crimes of bringing drugs into the United States from another country.  

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Drug Trafficking

Prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 841, this can include of Manufacturing, distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute illegal drugs.

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Drug Conspiracy

prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 21 U.S.C. § 963, this consists of Attempting and/or the promotion of or facilitation of the manufacture, distribution or importation of narcotics. The Government must prove that you were aware of the conspiracy.

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Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime or a Crime of Violence

Possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime or during a crime of violence is an aggressive but common charge in federal courts. Generally speaking, the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to keep and bear firearms. However, Congress has made it a serious federal crime for people to use a gun while committing a crime of violence or a drug trafficking offense.
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Protected Location Offenses

Distributing illegal drugs to people under the age of 21 or in a school zone; you can also be charged with this crime if you used people under the age of 18 to sell drugs.

What is a Controlled Substance?

Most drugs are listed and categorized into several schedules under the Federal Controlled Substances Act based on their abuse potential, accepted medical applications in the United States and the safety and potential for addiction.

Schedule I Drugs

These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no current medical use in the United States. Examples include LSD, Marijuana, and Heroin.

Schedule II/IIN Drugs

These drugs have a high potential for abuse, but have an accepted medical use in the US. Examples include Oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, and methamphetamine.

Schedule III/IIIN Drugs

These drugs have a moderate to low potential for abuse/dependence.  Examples include Tylenol with Codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and Suboxone.

Schedule IV Drugs

These drugs have a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence compared to Schedule III, and have a currently accepted medical use in the US. Examples include Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium and Ambien.

Schedule V Drugs

These drugs have a lower potential for abuse schedule IV, and have a currently accepted medical use in the US.  Examples may include certain cough medicines, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin.


Without the application of any statutory mandatory minimums or increased guideline ranges due to special conditions the normal range of punishment for many drug crimes can be between 5 and 40 years.  

Mandatory minimums can be implicated for things like prior drug or violent crime offenses or situations where the government pleads and proves, either by a trial or plea, of certain amounts of drugs.  

Moreover, the federal sentencing guidelines may also substantially impact sentencing in a federal drug charge based on factors such as the about of drugs involved, where the drugs were kept and the presence of weapons near the drugs.  All of these things are significant and should be taken into account as soon as possible.  This is all the more reason why you need an attorney that defends against federal drug charges.  

Federal Drug Charge Defenses

Unknowing Possession of the Drugs

Federal drug charges sometimes result from a simple traffic stop by police. After performing a search of the vehicle, the police officer may find a large amount of money or illegal drugs concealed in the car. In federal drug possession cases, one possible defense is that the defendant lacked personal knowledge of the presence of the drugs.

Possession with Intent to Distribute vs. Personal Use

Federal drug charges involving possession with the intent to distribute can sometimes be defended on the ground that the amount of drugs involved were for personal use. This defense is based on the elements of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), which require that the quantity of drugs be sufficient to constitute a distributable amount, and that the person "intended" to distribute the drugs.

Search Warrants/Search and Seizure Issues

If there was an illegal search warrant in the case, there may be a defense based on inadequacy of the police affidavit used to obtain the warrant. Untimely execution of the search warrant may also be used as a defense. In some federal drug cases, police may attempt to use a warrant where the information creating probable cause is "stale” because it involves events that occurred weeks or even months prior to the search for illegal drugs. A federal criminal defense attorney may also be able to challenge whether a search warrant was supported by probable cause.  This happens when the warrant contains insufficient information as to the exact place to be searched and the exact type of drugs that were expected to be found.

Informant Cases/Entrapment

Many federal drug charges involve the sale of illegal drugs to a government informant or an undercover police officer. Entrapment may be an available defense in such cases. This defense is available when a government agent induces someone to commit a crime that they were not predisposed to doing.

Lack of Knowledge of Conspiracy

The federal government frequently relies on the concept of "conspiracy" to bring federal drug charges against individuals. To convict someone of conspiracy, the government does not need any physical evidence, such as seized drugs or large amounts of money.

This crime of conspiracy is based on the "agreement" of two or more persons, whether known or not known to the defendant, to perform the object of the conspiracy. The object of the conspiracy can vary, but usually takes the form of possession with the intent to distribute drugs, distribution alone, or importation of illegal drugs.

Federal drug conspiracy cases are challenging to defend and require an experienced attorney.  We know how to attack the credibility of the government’s witnesses and fight vigorously for your innocence.

Canine Search Issues

If there was a search involving a police dog, a defense may be brought as to the admissibility of drug evidence found if the dog was not properly trained, if the dog did not have any record of success in prior drug recognition, and if the dogs handler was not properly trained. If a police dog can be shown to be unreliable, there may be a lack of probable cause for a search.

Are you or a loved one facing Federal Drug Charges?

At the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, we fight aggressively for our clients. We are experienced with federal drug charges, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. Safeguarding our clients’ rights, and properly managing their defense, are two of the most important parts of our job. If you are charged with a federal drug case, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.

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