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Crime of Trafficking in Cocaine

smuggling-cocaine_180x120-150x120Cocaine worth $2.7 million in luggage at Miami International Airport. The luggage from Quito, Ecuador carried an unusual cargo: 90 bricks of cocaine worth $2.7 million, WPLG-Ch. 10 reports. U.S. Customs & Border Protection found the cache in three suitcases at Miami International Airport on Thursday. No arrests were made.

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Cocaine is a schedule II controlled substance. Possession of cocaine is a crime in almost every jurisdiction. The consequences, however, are not always consistent. Possible punishments include mandatory rehabilitation, fines, and incarceration. In some countries getting caught with cocaine can lead to execution. In many cases, those who are convicted of possession of cocaine face imprisonment. The amount of time that a person will spend incarcerated generally depends upon the jurisdiction where the crime is committed and the amount of drugs in possession. Previous criminal history, even if not drug related, can also play a role.

What is Trafficking in Cocaine?

Historically, trafficking means to carry on traffic, trade, or commercial dealing. As in a person who deals in a commodity or service. It implies a buyer and a seller who exchange a commodity for money. However, because it is so difficult to catch drug dealers in the act of the actual exchange the legal definition of trafficking is much broader. It does NOT require a buyer, a seller, or an exchange of goods for money. A person may commit the crime of trafficking in cocaine by selling a quantity cocaine, or purchasing a quantity of cocaine, or manufacturing a quantity of cocaine, or delivering a quantity of cocaine, or bringing a quantity of cocaine into Florida, or by possessing a quantity of cocaine. The most frequently way this crime is charged is by alleging possession of a quantity of cocaine without any evidence of a buyer or seller or an exchange for money.

What Are the Elements of the Crime?

To prove the crime of Trafficking in Cocaine, the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) The defendant knowingly sold, purchased, manufactured, delivered, brought into Florida, or possessed a certain substance; 2) The substance was cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine; 3) The quantity of the substance involved was 28 grams or more; and 4) The defendant knew that the substance was cocaine or a mixture containing cocaine. It is NOT a defense to the crime that the defendant intended to traffic in heroin but actually trafficked in cocaine (source).

West Palm Beach Drug Charges Attorney

Many drug crimes in Florida are subject to mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least three years. Even if you are not facing prison time, the arrest can have a profound effect on both you and your family. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we will take a proactive approach in defending you.

Many drug cases can be resolved if your lawyer has you immediately perform community service and complete a short drug class, as it is essential that the state’s charging attorney understands what type of person you really are. Such actions also provide evidence that shows you are much more than what the law enforcement agent makes you out to be. By being proactive, we can often get a withhold of adjudication, which would preserve your driver’s license and keep you from having a criminal record.

If you face serious drug charges, lawyer Andrew Stine is experienced in attacking the government’s case against you. Drug cases often involve a confidential informant, who is usually another person who has been arrested on drug charges. By finding out who the confidential informant is—which we can in many cases—we may be able to do away with the state’s case. We can also seek to get drug evidence excluded, if the search and seizure was illegal.

Defense lawyer Andrew Stine handles all types of drug charges from simple possession to large scale trafficking of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, Oxycontyn, and other controlled substances. Being proactive in a drug case can often make the difference between facing felony or misdemeanor charges, or whether any charges are filed at all.

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