A Maryland man who had been previously convicted of dealing heroin and fentanyl was sentenced by a United States district judge to nine years in prison. The man is one of the first to be sentenced under a new federal-state initiative in Maryland, which aims to stop the fentanyl crisis.
In April 2018, police pulled the man over after observing him drift between lanes and fail to use a signal when turning. Police said they smelled marijuana when talking with the man and initiated a search of the vehicle. Officers found 49 grams of fentanyl, over $4,000 in cash and a drug ledger that listed the names and dates of people who allegedly purchased drugs. The man was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.
The new Maryland fentanyl initiative, titled the Synthetic Opioid Surge, aims to stop the widespread deaths due to fentanyl. Under the new initiative, every arrest made in the state for fentanyl distribution is reviewed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Attorney’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s office to decide if the case should be prosecuted at the federal or state level. Experts say that more fentanyl cases will be prosecuted by federal authorities and that harsher penalties will be given as a result.
Synthetic opioid production and distribution is a serious crime in Maryland. People are becoming increasingly concerned about opioid addiction and death, and lawmakers have responded by initiating stricter laws and consequences. Those accused of a drug crime may obtain legal representation to ensure that their Constitutional rights aren’t violated at any point during the process. A lawyer may be able to help someone accused of an opioid crime by looking into warrants that were issued to search their premises for drugs. If the warrants were not legally obtained, the search would be illegal, and anything seized during the search should be inadmissible in court.