If you have been charged with illegal drug distribution in the state of Missouri, it is serious. But if the charge is drug trafficking in the first degree, the seriousness escalates to a whole other level. Drug trafficking charges are some of the most serious charges you can face, and the major difference between distribution and trafficking is quantity.
What is drug trafficking?
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines drug trafficking as “a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.” Drug trafficking is generally investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and, if convicted, the accused will face a lengthy mandatory prison sentence.
Drug trafficking can be a state or federal crime. In the state of Missouri, drug charges are defined as trafficking according to the quantity and type of drugs involved in the charge. In Missouri, the classification and amount of the drug will determine whether the trafficking charge is a class A felony or a class B felony.
A closer look at Missouri’s drug trafficking penalties
The class by which drug trafficking in the first degree charges are determined in Missouri are as follows:
“A person commits the offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree if, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195, such person knowingly distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces or attempts to distribute, deliver, manufacture or produce:”
- More than 30 grams of heroin
- More than 150 grams of coca leaves
- More than 8 grams of a substance containing a cocaine base
- More than 500 milligrams of LSD
- More than 4 grams of PCP
“The offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree is a class A felony if the quantity involved is:”
- 90 grams or more of heroin
- 450 grams or more of coca leaves
- 24 grams or more of a substance containing a cocaine base
- One gram or more of LSD
- 12 grams or more of PCP
What are the defense strategies for drug trafficking?
Even if you have been charged with a serious drug offense, there are ways to defend your charges and possibly reduce your sentence. Some viable strategies for drug trafficking are:
- Drugs were obtained as a result of an illegal search.
- There is not enough evidence to convict you.
- There was insufficient probable cause to stop you, search you, or arrest you.
- You thought the substance was legal.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty.