Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass Articles More Operation Dirty Dozen Drug Traffickers Sentenced in Texas

More Operation Dirty Dozen Drug Traffickers Sentenced in Texas

By Jeffrey Grass, Esq.  Nov. 8, 2012 2:57p

More Operation Dirty Dozen Drug Traffickers Sentenced in Texas

This September, five more drug traffickers were sentenced in the continuing investigation "Operation Dirty Dozen," a federal law enforcement initiative that began in 2009 and targeted one of Texas' largest drug trafficking organizations. These developments prompt a look into Texas drug crimes charges and the penalties these individuals face now that they have been convicted.

More "Operation Dirty Dozen" Traffickers Sentenced

The five drug trafficking organization members were sentenced for delivering five tons of marijuana and $120,000 in cash from Mexico to the United States.

Combined, the five individuals face 575 months-or 47 years-of prison time and years of supervised release following their prison terms. One individual will also lose his property in one of Texas' border towns. Some of the individuals were citizens while others were legal permanent resident aliens.

Texas Drug Trafficking Penalties

Drug trafficking and other drug offenses are outlined in the state of Texas' Controlled Substances Act. The Act prohibits the distribution and delivering of illicit drugs, including marijuana. All penalties include jail time and fines.

The trafficking of marijuana has its own set of penalties. The delivery of marijuana weighing over 2,000 pounds is a first-degree felony. Those convicted of this crime face ten to 99 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.

The penalties for delivering smaller amounts of marijuana are less harsh. For example, those convicted of delivering between a quarter of an ounce to five pounds of marijuana face a state jail felony, penalties for which include 180 days to two years state jail time and fines up to $10,000.

The penalties for trafficking other illicit drugs, like cocaine and heroin, are no less harsh. Delivery of more than 4,000 pounds of these types of drugs is a first-degree felony. Those convicted of delivering illicit drugs other than marijuana face 15 to 99 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

The penalties for delivering smaller amounts of illicit drugs are less harsh. For example, someone who is convicted of delivering one to four grams of controlled substances other than marijuana is guilty of a second-degree felony and faces two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Possible Drug Trafficking Defenses

Fortunately, it is possible for experienced criminal defense attorneys to build effective defense cases for those accused of trafficking large amounts of illicit drugs. Those accused of drug delivery charges may not have had knowledge that drugs were present in their vehicle or other property or may have been told the substance was something else. For example, defendants may assert that they were told the cocaine in the back of their trucks was sugar. It is also possible for defendants to prove they were acting under duress and feared consequences if they did not deliver the drugs. For example, a defendant may claim that he or she was told someone would injure his or her family if he or she did not deliver drugs.

Both the state of Texas and federal government impose harsh penalties on those convicted of drug trafficking, especially if the weight of the drugs exceeds 2,000 pounds. If you have been accused of drug trafficking, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you build an effective defense.

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