Federal Drug Conspiracy Cases
Federal drug conspiracy investigations are usually very complex involving multi-agency task forces with huge budgets and can span months if not years. Federal drug penalties under the sentencing guidelines can be quite severe. For instance, a conspiracy for the distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine has a minimum punishment of ten years in prison up to life. Of course, that is all dependent on the amount of methamphetamine involved in the actual conspiracy, the more the higher the penalty goes up from the ten year minimum. Other factors effecting sentencing can be an individual’s role in the conspiracy, whether a leader or organizer or some minor participant. An individual’s prior criminal history can be used to enhance a sentence. Many times amounts and an individual’s role can be negotiated. Safety valve rules may enable a sentence under the statutory minimum. The actual charge can be negotiated in some cases from conspiracy to a lower charge carrying lower punishments.
In federal drug conspiracy cases, the government usually opposes the release of the accused from custody while the charges are pending. There are also statutory presumptions for detaining the accused, such as the accused being a continuing danger to the community and being a flight risk. An accused can request a hearing to seek pre- trial release from detention by offering evidence to overcome the presumptions and the government’s desire to keep the accused incarcerated while awaiting trial. At the hearing the government will present a case agent to testify concerning their case and as to why the accused should not be released. The accused’s attorney will then have the opportunity to question the agent during cross examination. Even if the accused is ultimately detained, the defense would have an in- depth knowledge of the government’s case. Usually at a detention hearing a family member or close acquaintance testifies on behalf of the accused. The accused does not because of the government also having the opportunity to cross exam.
Evidence against an individual can be gathered through wire taps, cell phone tracking, search and seizures and the individual’s own text messages and photos. Seizures of evidence by the government can be through the execution of search warrants or through a vehicle search during a stop. For the evidence to be admissible, the search warrant has to be based on probable cause and any traffic stop has to be legitimate. Otherwise the evidence cannot be used against the accused. Incriminating evidence can be substantial. That’s why you need an accomplished and aggressive federal drug conspiracy lawyer like Howard Blackmon to vigorously represent you against these charges. He will meet with you, analyze the evidence and evaluate your best options, whether to try the case to a jury and make the government prove the charges, whether to hold a hearing to suppress the government’s evidence or to work out the best deal possible, given his knowledge and experience in defending these type cases.