On Sept. 4, a former Maryland resident pleaded guilty to multiple drug charges for transporting large amounts of marijuana into the state from 2003 until June 2009. He is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 8.
According to media reports, the 43-year-old defendant and a group of co-conspirators created a fake company to transport hundreds of pounds of marijuana from California to warehouses in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Once the drugs arrived, they were distributed to local dealers and sold to consumers. Proceeds ranging from $100,000 to $1 million were then transported back to California to pay for more drugs.
The operation fell apart when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided one of the defendant’s Baltimore warehouses in March 2009 and uncovered around 100 pounds of marijuana, over 30 cell phones, multiple money counters, false identification and $20,000 in cash. After the raid, the defendant fled from Baltimore to California in an attempt to avoid arrest. When he was finally taken into custody in Nevada, he had an additional $38,000 in cash and five cellphones in his possession. He eventually pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and maintaining a drug-involved premises. If the judge accepts the terms of his plea agreement, he will be sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
Federal drug charges are very serious, and they carry severe penalties, including years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. However, a criminal defense attorney might be able to successfully contest the allegations and get the charges dismissed. Another possibility might be for the attorney to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges. This strategy may help the defendant obtain a lighter sentence, such as attending a drug diversion program instead of going to prison.