Defense Lawyers for Online Drug Trafficking
Under 18 U.S.C. § 841, certain types of Drug Trafficking are punishable by imprisonment of up to life.
“The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from arrest and prosecution.” These are the words of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York following the conviction of Ross William Ulbricht. The founder of the online marketplace known as the Silk Road, Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison following a jury trial in which he was convicted of seven counts of drug crimes, computer crimes, and money laundering. Ulbricht’s life sentence and the U.S. Attorney’s comments are proof that the federal government is intent on identifying, prosecuting, and punishing individuals who use the Internet to buy and sell illegal drugs and other controlled substances.
Online Drug Trafficking Explained
Along with specific offenses such as distributing narcotics over the Internet, some of the most common charges we see in online drug trafficking cases include:
- Drug Trafficking Drug trafficking involves possession, sale, transportation, and other acts relating to the commercial distribution of controlled substances. In addition to illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and LSD, you can also face trafficking charges for buying and selling prescription medications online.
- Drug Manufacturing Federal law defines drug manufacturing broadly, to include even selling chemicals or equipment with the knowledge that someone else is going to use them to produce illegal drugs. If your online activity suggests that you have any involvement in any capacity in any operation to manufacture or cultivate illegal drugs, you may find yourself facing federal criminal charges.
- Illegal Importation of Drugs Using the Internet to import illegal drugs can land you in trouble with several federal authorities, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even ordering prescriptions online from overseas for your own personal use is a serious federal crime. If you have been arrested for online drug trafficking involving drugs from overseas, you can expect to face charges for illegal importation along with a host of other federal offenses.
- Computer Fraud Computer fraud is another crime that is defined broadly and has implications under a host of state and federal criminal laws. From identity theft to using Internet service providers for illegal activities, there are numerous computer fraud charges that prosecutors can typically bring in connection with online drug trafficking.
- Conspiracy and RICO Violations Conspiracy charges and allegations of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) are common in online drug trafficking cases as well. Prosecutors frequently use these charges in order to try to get defendants to provide testimony against their co-conspirators or other members of a criminal organization.
Online Transactions Involving Marijuana
While several states have now made it legal to possess marijuana for personal use and to sell marijuana through licensed dispensaries, possession or distribution of any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. This means that prosecutors still can and do press charges for offenses such as selling marijuana online and purchasing large quantities of marijuana (which typically suggests involvement in trafficking or possession with intent to distribute). In any case, if you are charged with purchasing or selling drugs online, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Defending Against Online Drug Trafficking Charges
At Oberheiden, P.C., we are dedicated to helping the accused fight online drug trafficking charges. These cases fall at the intersection of two of our primary areas of practice: drug crimes and Internet crimes. Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled negotiators, effective advocates, and aggressive trial lawyers. When you hire us, you can trust we will pursue all possible avenues to have your case dismissed.
Penalties for Online Drug Trafficking
As in the case of the Silk Road’s founder, most online drug trafficking cases involve numerous charges for drug crimes and Internet-related offenses. Most of these charges are extremely serious carrying six- and even seven-figure fines, and often ten or more years of incarceration. If you are convicted on multiple charges or multiple counts, you could be facing life behind bars.
Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation with Oberheiden, P.C.
Drug crimes and Internet crimes are both at the top of the federal government’s list of priorities. If you are facing charges for online drug trafficking, you need serious legal representation.
As former federal prosecutors and experienced criminal defense attorneys, we know the government’s tactics for seeking convictions. As experienced criminal defense attorneys who have successfully represented hundreds of clients, we know what it takes to overcome those tactics as well. To learn more about what we can do to help, schedule your free, confidential case evaluation by calling (888) 727-5154 or sending us an email today.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a national litigation and trial criminal defense attorney who practices exclusively in the area of federal law.