A recently published local news report discusses the indictment and arrest of seven Chicago-area men for felony federal drug charges after a joint investigation allegedly uncovered a multi-state drug trafficking ring that supplied heroin to drug users in parts of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. According to the report, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police from Michigan City, Indiana cooperated in an undercover investigation that infiltrated the defendants’ alleged drug enterprise and uncovered evidence of a drug trafficking conspiracy. The investigation resulted in seven men being arrested and charged with aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute over 100 grams of heroin. Further details of the investigation have not been released, and each of the defendants remains innocent unless and until they are convicted of a crime.
The Differences Between State and Federal Drug Distribution Charges The joint investigation discussed in the article was performed by both federal and state law enforcement agencies, but the men were charged with only federal crimes. There are several reasons why state law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal authorities to make arrests in drug distribution cases.
Alleged drug distribution networks that exist in multi-state metropolitan areas, which are common around the Great Lakes area, can give the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute drug possession or distribution as a broader federal conspiracy charge. It is sometimes easier for prosecutors to prove a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance than it would be for state prosecutors to obtain a conviction under state law for a similar charge. Federal authorities can more easily gather evidence across state borders, and federal mandatory minimum sentences are often more severe than the sentences imposed by state courts for the same conduct. For these reasons, it is common for state and federal authorities to cooperate in investigations that result in federal conspiracy charges.
Not all Conspirators Are Always Equally Culpable for Drug Crimes Identical federal conspiracy charges are often brought against large groups of people, all of whom were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs. Criminal liability for conspiracy has developed in a manner that allows a defendant who participated and knew very little in an enterprise to be convicted of the same crime as the leader of a drug trafficking ring. Federal charges are often brought against as large a group as possible to give the government the best chance to obtain convictions by using leverage and plea negotiations with the defendants. It is not uncommon for charges to be dismissed or reduced against some alleged conspirators in exchange for their testimony, nor is it uncommon for the harshest sentence to be handed down to a defendant who was not as deeply involved as others who received leniency. Anyone arrested on federal drug conspiracy charges should invoke their right to remain silent and request the counsel of an attorney before submitting to an interrogation.
Detroit Drug Trafficking Criminal Defense Attorney If you or someone close to you has been arrested or charged with a state or federal drug crime in the Detroit area, the quality of your legal representation can make a significant difference in the overall result of your case. The Michigan criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven L. Schwartz have the experience and skill that you want on your side to mount a strong defense against all allegations of criminal conduct. Our respected Oakland County criminal defense lawyers have been practicing in the region for over 20 years, and we can fight for a successful outcome in your case, with a focus on obtaining a dismissal or an acquittal, or avoiding jail time if possible. We have offices in Bloomfield Hills and Franklin, and we represent clients accused of misdemeanors and felonies throughout the Detroit metro area. Contact us using the online form or by calling (248) 266-8720 to schedule a consultation today.