Federal Drug Conspiracy

It can be difficult to defend conspiracies, especially drug conspiracies, because of their broad reach that encompasses many types of conduct. Generally under 18 U.S.C. § 371 a conspiracy is committed when all of the following are present:

  1. There is an agreement to commit a specific federal crime,
  2. Between two or more people, AND
  3. At least one of those persons does any overt act to further the conspiracy.

This does not require the government to prove that there was any type of written agreement between to co-conspirators, but rather must only put forth evidence that the parties were working together to commit the crime. Generally, the parties never really have to meet or interact face-to-face, as long as they know that the other is working to further the conspiracy.  Furthermore, in a conspiracy a person who has very limited involvement can be held accountable for the “relevant conduct” of other co-conspirators that they do not know, have never met, and who never had any knowledge of their illegal activity.

Specifically 21 U.S.C. § 846 makes it a federal crime to commit a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. The harshest aspect of this crime is that the penalty is the same as it would be for committing the underlying crime of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute any controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. § 841 imposes the following sentences:

  • 10 years to Life
    • 1 Kg-Heroin
    • 5 Kgs-Cocaine
    • 100 grams-PCP
    • 1000 Kgs-Marijuana
    • 50 grams-Methamphetamine
  • 5-40 years
    • 100 grams-Heroin
    • 500 grams-Cocaine
    • 10 grams-PCP
    • 100 Kgs-Marijuana
    • 5 grams-Methamphetamine
  • 0-20 years
    • Generally applies to offenses involving lesser quantities of controlled substances.
  • Statutory maximum of 5 years
    • Offenses involving less than 50 kilograms of marijuana and for certain other lesser offenses.

Drug conspiracies have a high potential for abuse in the federal courts because their broad reach. One of the most dangerous consequences of this type of crime is that often times those who play a very minor role in the conspiracy are still subject to harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

It is very important for anyone charged with a drug conspiracy to find an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who will act diligently on their behalf to examine the government’s evidence against them and figure out their role in the offense.

Sieben & Cotter, PLLC has the experience and resources to provide you with the professional legal representation that you need in order to prepare the best defense against federal prosecution. Schedule a comprehensive evaluation of your federal court case at no charge.  Call Sieben & Cotter at 651-455-1555 to arrange your free and comprehensive consultation, or send a request for more information.