Earlier this month in the east side of Detroit, a joint effort by the FBI and Michigan State Police resulted in 24 people being arrested for participating in what authorities are calling a “large scale drug ring.” According to one report by the local CBS affiliate, the group allegedly used 16 vacant houses to sell cocaine and heroin over the past several years. In addition to the “drug ring,” prosecutors also say they uncovered evidence of an illegal dog-fighting ring as well.
Evidently, the homes were mostly located in the Ravendale neighborhood of Detroit. Both drugs and guns were found in many of the homes, and authorities took their time trying to link up the several houses to each other, as well as to the individuals named in the lawsuit.
It is not clear yet what charges the individuals will be facing, but it seems likely that several of them will be facing drug-trafficking charges, while others with less involvement will be looking at drug distribution.
State Versus Federal Drug Crimes
Most small-scale drug crimes are prosecuted under state law. However, when the federal government gets involved because it expects that a larger-scale operation is involved, federal prosecutors will often pick up the case. While, under the United States Constitution, it is permissible for state and federal prosecutors to pick up and prosecute the same case, that is very rarely what happens.
Federal drug crimes are litigated in federal court and are sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines. Federal judges often have little latitude when sentencing a defendant who was convicted because the guidelines are fairly strict. However, federal judges can depart from the guidelines, provided they explain their reasons for doing so. Those convicted of a federal drug crime may end up serving their sentence in any of the federal correctional institutions across the country.
State drug crimes in Michigan are prosecuted in Michigan courts and under Michigan laws. While judges are bound to some extent by specific statutes guiding their sentencing, state court judges have considerable discretion when it comes to sentencing. If a defendant is convicted in Michigan court for a drug offense, he or she will almost certainly end up serving his or her time somewhere in the state.
Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a State or Federal Drug Offense?
If you have recently been charged with a Michigan drug offense, you should immediately seek out a dedicated drug crimes attorney to help you defend against the charges. Attorney Steven Schwartz is a dedicated criminal defense attorney with over 25 years of experience protecting the rights of those charged with serious criminal offenses in the State of Michigan. In addition, Attorney Schwartz is licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. If you have a drug case, contact Attorney Schwartz to discuss what options you may have. Call (248) 266-8720 to set up a free consultation.