15 Ton Marijuana Drug Bust in California

The second largest weed bust in the history of the U.S. was made last week at a U.S. border crossing.  In 2013, the first shipment crossed into Southern California from Mexico weighing about 35,265 pounds equivalent to 17.6 tons. According to CNN news the second drug bust was brought in by a truck labeled “Mattresses and Cushions”.  The truck crossed the border from Mexico to California at Otay Mesa in San Diego. When the United States Customs and Border Patrol police officer x-rayed the cargo bay and he saw objects that did not look right. When the officer opened the cargo doors what he saw left him shocked. There was weed wrapped into plastic packages from the floor to the ceiling. A total of 1,296 packages weighing 31,598 pounds, which has a street value of $18.96 million.

According to the DEA, Federal investigations and prosecutions usually involve hundreds of pounds of marijuana. The Southwest Border Initiative has been in operation since 1994. SWBI is a cooperative effort based law enforcement agency that combats substantial threat posed by Mexico-based trafficking groups that operate along the border.  The DEA’s belief is that the only way to successfully beat any organized crime would be to syndicate strong cases against leadership and their command and control functions. For example, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel until his arrest in 2014. El Chapo was the number one supplier of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines to the U.S.  Guzman was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world according to Forbes.

News Week published an article where an important figure in the Sinaloa cartel working indirectly for the boss El Chapo became an informant. Many do it to spare their lives because they all know that if they don’t end up in prison they will eventually end up dead. After many attempts to capture Guzman the help of an informant was what made it possible to capture the world’s most powerful drug dealer. But, even in jail Guzman still manages to run his empire. There are still many individuals in charge of trafficking drugs from country to country and from city to city.

Illegal Drug sales is classified as the act of selling or commercially distributing illegal drugs or controlled substances. Drug trafficking is defined as the selling, manufacturing, growing, delivering, or possessing more than a certain amount of a controlled substance. The amount of the substance that needs to be involved in order to label it a trafficking charge depends on the substance. Drug trafficking is considered to be the most severe and punishable offense with regard to the illegal sale of drugs.

In the United States, the suppliers for methamphetamines are traditionally independent groups or perhaps even motorcycle gangs. The smuggling of methamphetamine is mainly controlled by the same major organizations that dominate the production and distribution of illicit drugs form Mexico into the United States. These organizations have groups working for them in approximately every state. Therefore, every single person involved can also be charged with possession, distribution or manufacturing any controlled substances according to the amount in possession.

In the event that you are charged with a drug trafficking offense, we encourage you to consult with one of The Mace Firm federal defense lawyers. Our lawyers are experienced in representing clients in Federal and state court. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach federal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys in Myrtle Beach are ready to speak with you about your case.

Mandatory Federal Drug Sentences

Attorney General Eric Holder feels that long, mandatory prison sentences for drug offenses have “flooded the nation’s prisons” and cost communites tons of dollars on fighting non-violent crimes.  “If Holder’s policies are implemented aggressively, they could mark one of the most significant changes in the way the federal criminal justice system handles drug cases since the government declared a war on drugs in the 1980s.”

For starters, Holder is instructing federal prosecutors to discontinue charging nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that hold mandatorny minimum sentences.  Holder will also work with a group in Congress to allow judges more discretion in sentencing.

At this time, federal prisons are operating at 40% above capacity; since 1980, prison populations have grown by close to 800%.  Along with that, close to half of those inmates are there for drug-related crimes.  “Holder said he also wants to divert people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expand a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.”

This is all coming about due to the view that mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent defendants do not promote justice and do not serve public safety.  The view is also focused on allowing federal judges to have more flexibilty with sentencing these defendants.

Of course, there are some nay-sayers regarding Holder’s push.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte has stated that Holder “cannot unilaterally ignore the laws or the limits on his executive powers. While the attorney general has the ability to use prosecutorial discretion in individual cases, that authority does not extend to entire categories of people.”  In addition to this, others feel that the issue of the law being changed would be best decided by Congress and the president.

An implementation of Holder’s policies would benefit African-Americans and Hispanics the most.  This is because African-Americans make up about 30 percent of federal drug convictions annually and Hispanics account for 40 percent.

If the policies are put into effect, the changes will also impact prisoners on the state level.  According to the Department of Justice, 58% of state drug offenders have no history of violence.

Holder feels that spending less money on incarcerating nonviolent drug prisoners would benefit communities because it will allow them to spend those funds on more law enforcement agents, prosecutors and intervention/prevention programs.  During his speech to the American Bar Association, Holder said “we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget.”

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

US Woman Accused of Drug Smuggling

Criminal defense lawyers discussion of wrongfully jailed woman in Mexico.  Yanira Maldonado and her family were visiting Mexico for her aunt’s funeral.  As they traveled on their bus back home to Arizona, it was stopped at a military checkpoint about 170 miles from the US-Mexico border.  At the checkpoint, the soldiers ordered all the people off the buss to be interrogated, however they did not question the Maldonado family.

Apparently, there had been 12 pounds of marijuana under a bus seat, attached with a bungee cord.  The soldiers began to target her husband, Gary.  Hours later, the Mexican authorities changed their story and said that the drugs were under Yanira’s seat.  Mrs. Maldonado, a mormon mother of seven, was then accused of trafficking and possession.  As Maldonado was taken to jail, a local attorney arrived and allegedly told Gary, “You know how it works in Mexico, right?” and explained money would secure his wife’s release.  “The attorney that Gary called was from a list of attorneys who were ranked on a list of how well they spoke English. He talked to the prosecuting attorney before he talked to Gary, and then he came to Gary and said, ‘If we give them money, they’ll release your wife.'”

Gary offered prosecutors $3,500 initially; however, the prosecuting attorney wanted $5,000.  Gary had the money wired from family and paid the prosecutor, only to find out that his wife had not been released, but moved to another jail.  Following this incident, the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C., said federal officials are in “close communication” with Mexico’s government to guarantee Mrs. Maldonado’s right to assistance of an attorney.

Regarding his sister’s innocence, Maldonado’s brother stated that “they have witnesses who saw that they were the last ones to get on the bus.  They saw them put their luggage underneath and get on the bus without anything with them. How they managed to hide big blocks of marijuana and bungee-cord them underneath is overwhelmingly ridiculous.”

Fortunately, Maldonado was released after nine days in Mexian jail.  Court officials obtained security footage which showed the couple boarding the bus with only their personal belongings.

Maldonado does not blame Mexico for what transpired; she stressed to reporters at a press conference in Arizona that the mistake was the fault of “a few people,” not the country. With a shrug, she said that she had just sat in the wrong seat.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal defense lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

 

Drug Trafficking Tale

I am a college senior who enjoys doing typical college activities.  I attend parties, go to bars, go to class; just like everyone else.  I ran into a buddy who was visiting from out of town one night during spring break.  We chatted and then he introduced me to his friend, Paul, who was a local.  I had never seen Paul before and he looked a little unkempt, but I wasn’t worried about that.  We had a great time that night over drinks and shooting pool then we all decided to head home.

The next day, I saw Paul again.  He had noticed my brand new vehicle the night before when we were all leaving the bar.  Paul strikes up a conversation with me about my new ride and as our conversation continued, he was really open with me, telling me personal things and making me feel like he just needed a friend or even just needed to talk to someone.  We eventually started talking about work and what we each did for a living.  I told him that I was finishing my last year of college and was staying focused on that, so I did not have a job.  When I asked Paul what he did, he said he was a landscaper as he had decided to forgo the traditional college/trade school route.  Then Paul told me something I wish I had never heard.  He said that he makes extra cash when he has time by making deliveries–drug deliveries.  I didn’t ask him for any details about this venture, I didn’t have any intentions of ever doing it myself so it was no big deal.  I just let him talk.

He told me that one of his “buddies” has him rent a vehicle to drive multiple pounds of cocaine from Florida to Myrtle Beach.  He also told me that his “buddy” gives him $800.00 cash to make these trips.  Paul said he had done this several times and has never been caught.  He said that dressing professionally, getting a rental car and using cruise control will make you appear less suspicious to the cops.

Paul and I ended our conversation shortly after that, I had to get back to studying.  When I was alone, I kept thinking about how great it would be to have extra cash without having to ask Mom and Dad back at home.  Maybe I should just get a part-time job?  But then I wouldn’t have any free time.  If I just had to drive a rental car to Florida, that could be done in one day if I could handle staying awake for the drive.  And $800.00 is a nice chunk of change!  I decided that I’d do it once, and never again.  I called Paul and told him I was interested if his “buddy” had some extra work for me.  Paul sounded like he was expecting me to call him with this news, but I ignored that and made arrangements to get the job done.  It was relatively easy since I had Paul to communicate with the “buddy.”

The next Saturday I pick up my rental car in Myrtle Beach and start heading towards I-95 South.  The drive down to Florida was easy, relaxing.  Once I arrived at my destination, it was a totally different story.  Three men greeted me and immediately started loading my car with the cocaine, hiding it in places I didnt know existed in a car.  I also didn’t know exactly how much cocaine I was transporting, but it looked like a lot.  The whole process took about 30 minues, then I was ready to head back.  I was half way finished with this mission and so close to finally having some cash.

The drive back was unnerving, but I had made it to my exit on I-95 and was about to veer off the highway.  Almost home.  Then I saw the blue lights.  Was I speeding?  I quickly remembered exactly what I had stuffed in my car: multiple pounds of illegal drugs.  I immediately got nervous and I’m sure the officer noticed, because he asked me to step out of my car, then called for back-up to perform a search.  I was officially busted within an hour of the traffic stop.

On my way to the station, I was thinking of all the ways I could try to help myself get out of this mess.  I need to call a Myrtle Beach attorney as soon as possible; maybe that should be my first phone call from jail?  I knew a lawyer in South Carolina would be able to represent me, especially since I was getting charged with trafficking heroin.  I should have checked all my resources before I decided to do this so I could be sure of the trouble I might face; maybe I should have checked the DEA website about drug trafficking?  I knew one thing was for sure, I was going to have to hire a Myrtle Beach attorney to represent me and I will need to call for an appointment immediately.  Calling a Myrtle Beach attorney at The Mace Firm really worked out for me.

Drug Bust in Puerto Rico

Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer to discuss drug trafficking ring.  36 people were arrested this week when a drug trafficking ring was busted at Puerto Rico’s main airport. They were using this as a port for smuggling large amounts of cocaine off the island on passenger flights bound for the United States. The U.S.DEA said the 36 detainees, including 22 suspects captured at San Juan’s International Airport, were among 45 people indicted for smuggling more than 61,000 pounds of cocaine out of the U.S. territory on commercial flights to the United States since 1999.

The DEA also said that “some suspects caught up in the drug bust were current or former American Airlines employees and airport personnel, who used a designated bathroom to hand over cocaine to couriers preparing to board US-bound flights.” Cargo handlers on the drug ring’s payroll also worked to ensure that suitcases filled with drugs were placed aboard U.S.-bound flights.

“The defendants in this investigation not only utilized their positions and security access to smuggle large quantities of illegal narcotics, but they also compromised the safety and security at one of the Caribbean’s most vital airports,” Pedro Janer, the special agent who runs the DEA’s operations across the Caribbean, said in a statement.

This is not the first time the San Juan airport has been under the microscope by authorities. In 2009, nine American Airlines workers at the San Juan airport were arrested on drug trafficking charges.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call a  Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

15 Tons of Meth Seized

Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer discusses huge drug seizure in Mexico.  The historic seizure of 15 tons of pure methamphetamine in western Mexico, equal to half of all meth seizures worldwide in 2009, feeds growing speculation that Mexico could become a world platform for meth production, instead of just a supplier to the United States. Although Army officials did not reveal which drug gangs could have been behind the 15 tons of meth, it is believed that the powerful Sinaloa cartel is involved in the production of the meth seized. The Sinaloa cartel is a major international trafficker of cocaine and marijuana. They have now started meth production and manufacturing on an industrial scale.

The Sinaloa cartel, lead by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is equipped to produce and distribute drugs “for the global village,” said Antonio Mazzitelli, the regional representative of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. “Such large-scale production could suggest an expansion … into Latin American and Asian markets,” Mazzitelli said. But he also mentioned, “it may be a product that hasn’t been able to be sold, and like any business, when the market is depressed, stockpiles build up.” Officials also feel that Sinaloa is making an attempt “to reduce its reliance on Columbian cocaine by flooding the market with meth.”

In the United States, the suppliers of meth are traditionally outlaw motorcycle gangs and other independent groups. While they continue to produce methamphetamine and control a share of the market, methamphetamine smuggling into the United States from Mexico is controlled primarily by the same major organizations that dominate the production and trafficking of other illicit drugs from Mexico into the United States.

According to the DEA, in the last 3 years, there has been a 518% increase in the amount of meth seized in California. Also, reports from Los Angeles indicate that meth use is more popular than cocaine. An official from Atlanta reported that meth tends to be used by white, middle-class teenagers and young adults who have no links to the crack scene and are afraid of crack because of its negative image as a highly addictive drug. Ethnographic data indicate that meth is becoming more popular and available in suburbs.

The consequences of producing, trafficking or possession of meth has many variables. If you or someone you know is facing drug related charges, it will be highly beneficial to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call one of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm to schedule a free consultation.

The Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm spend a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is the act of transporting a large quantity of illegal drugs or controlled substances with the intent to unlawful sell, distribute, or deliver. Drug trafficking is considered to be an illegal commercial activity, which is typically defined as a felony. The amount of illegal drugs or controlled substances to quantify the classification of ‘large’ varies depending on the location of the offense.

Unless expressly permitted by the Federal Government, the result of a medical prescription, or a medically sanctioned measure for the treatment of a disease, the possession of drugs or controlled substances is a crime. While some illegal and controlled substances are organic and natural in their purest state, other drugs are synthetic and produced as a result of chemical processing. A controlled substance is a drug or substance that is considered to be legal in the event that it is possessed by individuals legally allowed its use. Controlled substances include pharmaceuticals and other items that require expressed, governmental permission for their possession and/or usage. An illegal drug is defined as a drug or substance deemed illegal to possess, use, sell, purchase, or manufacture.

Drug sales are classified as the act of selling or commercially distributing illegal drugs or controlled substances. However, drug trafficking classifies the activity of drug sales in the event that the amount of drugs intended for sales in the event that it exceeds quantity associated with ‘distribution’. Drug trafficking is considered to be the most severe and punishable offense with regard to the illegal sale of drugs.

In the event that a person is placed under arrest for the alleged participation in drug trafficking, they are encouraged to abide by all protocol and procedure set forth by the arresting officer. Individuals accused of and subsequently arrested for drug trafficking charges are entitled the same rights expressed in the Constitution of the United States.

In the event that an individual experiences difficulties or failure to fully understand stipulations set forth in a subpoena to appear in court as a result of being charged with a drug trafficking offense, they are encouraged to consult with a federal defense lawyer specializing in the field of Drug Trafficking, in additional to trial law, criminal law, drug possession, and defense.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach federal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys in Myrtle Beach are ready to speak with you about your case.

Our Myrtle Beach federal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.