Drug cartels target teenagers and young adults, usually between the ages of 18 and 25, in Mexico to carry large quantities of drugs over the border into California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The act of transporting these drugs is a federal crime. If caught in the U.S., they receive a felony drug trafficking charge in federal court.
When arrested for a federal drug trafficking charge, you have ties to the traffickers and their cartel affiliates. Drug cartels are complex and highly organized criminal syndicates that exist and grow through violence and intimidation.
If used and arrested as a mule, knowingly or unknowingly, you need serious legal support. The consequences can be dire and depend wholly on the details of your case.
Federal Drug Trafficking
The type of illegal substance, the amount of it that was transported, and whether it was distributed (and to who it was distributed) will ultimately determine the actual sentencing for the crime, especially if this is your first offense. A federal sentence for trafficking alone can get you anywhere between 10 to 40 years in federal prison with fines that can reach into the millions of dollars.
There is a mandatory minimum of ten years in federal prison for most drug trafficking offenses. However, when it comes to a federal investigation, the court could charge you for much more than trafficking. For example, with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to possess, and laundering. A second offense garners a sentence of life in federal prison and up to 8 million dollars in fines.
If hurt during the commission of the crime, or if a crime occurred near a school, more severe consequences occur. If you can be tied to someone who dies because of these crimes, the mandatory minimum changes to 20 years.
Anyone convicted of a federal crime must forfeit any personal property that has ties to a crime. This includes cars, homes, etc. You may face barring from federal benefits, including student loans, decreasing your chances of attending college.
Targeting the Youth
The young are targeted specifically because they are less likely to be suspected of a crime at the border and are considerably more naive and trusting than someone older. Many high schoolers who crossed the border in San Diego receive recruitment. Then, the cartel forces them through threats or promises of money and protection.
Many times, a person will identify a younger individual and groom them into believing that they have a friendship. Then, they find some way to force the child to take a package to another person across the border for money. It doesn’t seem too dangerous at the time and many kids agree to the plan without understanding the consequences.
Sometimes, sentences and fees can be reduced for a minor who had a smaller role in the trade. However, this, like everything else, is subject to your criminal defense team and their knowledge of the law.
The closer we are to the border, the closer we are to rival gangs who traffic drugs. They fight each other over territory and the violence doesn’t just remain between them. Tijuana is considered one of the most violent cities in the world and the sheer number of drugs that flow through the border from Tijuana into California is staggering. A lot of money and many, many lives are at stake.
These drug trafficking organizations, or DTOs, aren’t afraid to go after someone they consider a threat. Thus, the cartels consider a courier facing federal jail time a threat.
It is essential that you get out of jail as soon as possible to meet with a lawyer ready to fight tooth and nail for you and your future. Your bond will most likely be tremendously high. There may be a chance to lower it, with the right attorney by your side.
Who to Call, Where to Call for Drug Trafficking Charges
Federal courts have a much longer reach than state courts and the consequences of a guilty verdict are usually much more severe. If you, a friend, or a family member are arrested for drug trafficking over the border, you need the services of a knowledgable, successful, and experienced federal attorney to fight what you are up against.
Contact federal criminal lawyer Karren Kenney and her fearless defense team at Kenney Legal Defense to begin your fight against federal drug trafficking charges. Federal offenses are serious and the Kenney team is aggressive and ready to fight. Everyone makes mistakes and you don’t need punishment for these mistakes forever.