Drug charges can be magnified by prior criminal record
Lawmakers in Connecticut and across the country designed the criminal justice system to prevent crime and prevent offense. Many of these laws target the rights of those with prior convictions by restricting their rights in numerous ways. Often, prosecutors use the existence of prior convictions to inflate charges against those convictions by imposing tougher charges allowed by federal criminal procedures. Having a sound legal team is a defendant’s best chance in understanding their rights and responsibilities when faced with such tactics.
Anti-drug trafficking efforts raise serious legal concerns
In Connecticut and across the country, drug crime prevention efforts are a top priority, and federal agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) focus on preventing federal drug crimes from ever taking place. The ATF plans and leads campaigns in cooperation with state and local authorities to catch suspects, causing many prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys to question the authority of their tactics.
The ATF is known for devising elaborate stings targeting individuals connected to known criminal operations, using undercover agents and informants to entice these individuals to rob their associates and take a given amount of drugs. The individuals are then arrested when they arrive to carry out the fictional robberies. These stings consume large amounts of resources and money, and significant legal questions about entrapment and due process arise from the method.
Many legal scholars have noted that the line between entrapment and investigation blur when considering the methods the ATF uses to target potential offenders. Especially troubling is the influence undercover agents have on determining the severity of potential charges by determining the severity of the fictional crime presented to potential suspects.
Even more troubling is the fact these operations often have real world consequences beyond indictments and convictions. In less than a decade, these types of stings have resulted in at least 13 people being shot, some killed. Further, more than 10 percent of the suspects arrested had no prior convictions.
Given the nature of the ATF’s methods, everyone should question how the authority the ATF wields can affect both offenders and non-offenders in the light of the law.
Multiple agencies can join forces in investigating drug trafficking
Prosecutors come into drug cases with the goal of maximizing convictions and sentencing for as many involved individuals as possible. Part of their process us using local, state, and federal cooperation over long periods of time to construct their cases over long periods of time from a variety of surveillance tools. This gives the prosecutors advantages in prosecuting indicted individuals and means federal criminal defense attorneys must understand the nature of the case and protect their client’s rights throughout the entire process.
Using such methods, prosecutors from Bridgeport, Connecticut recently secured the conviction of a man arrested as part of a statewide operation involving 24 suspects stretching from Stamford to Bridgeport to Norwalk. The individual plead guilty to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 5 years of probation.
Under such circumstance, defendants need to have a legal team they can rely on and trust to navigate such complex and widespread cases. A good legal team can help with entering an appropriate plea, ensuring fair sentencing, and navigate the intricacies of appeals while protecting the defendant’s rights along the way.
Drug sentences can be stiff
In any case where multiple charges are involved, the situation for the defendant becomes especially serious. In many cases, the individual charges build on each other, creating the potential for intimidating fines and jail time. While every case has the potential to achieve a “not guilty” verdict or lessen the charges, the severity of multiple charge cases demands the defendant be serious and proactive in their defense.
A Connecticut man learned first-hand what multiple charges can lead to after being sentenced in Vermont to over 15 years for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and related gun charges. The man's multiple convictions included "conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime."
The sentencing took place in federal court last week after a four day trial that was held in June. Court records show several of the man’s crimes were carried out in the Windsor area.
The result is that the individual now has multiple convictions including two decades in prison. The time lost in prison and convictions will follow him the rest of his life, making finding a job or housing difficult once he returns to society at large. A good defense team can help someone in his situation secure a more positive legal outcome.
Contact a Federal Drug Charge Defense Attorney in Fairfield County
We have extensive experience representing clients in Federal Court. We can help you build a defense to the charges you face, including conspiracy and other drug-related charges: