In an effort to disrupt the distribution of methamphetamine across the country, federal law enforcement officials have allocated new resources.
A bill passed in late 2019 by Congress allowed federal money to be used in the fight against meth and cocaine in the United States, including Texas.
What does a broader scope of resources and tougher drug crime laws mean for Texans involved in the meth trade?
It means that being arrested in Texas for trafficking methamphetamine could result in much more stringent penalties. Here’s what you need to know.
The Federal Controlled Substance Act
Possessing this drug without a prescription is not only a state-level drug crime, it is also a federal crime under the Controlled Substance Act.
According to the Act, methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance. It was assigned as such because the drug does have an accepted medical use that creates a high potential for addiction or abuse.
The prosecution of a person found in possession of methamphetamine depends on how much of the drug is found in their possession.
In the eyes of the law, there is a difference between possessing methamphetamine for personal use and possessing enough to warrant trafficking prosecuution. The penalties reflect that.
Possession of Methamphetamine
If you are caught with 5 grams or less of methamphetamine or its derivatives (anything used in the manufacturing of the substance), you may be charged with possession.
Substances such as phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine are considered derivatives and cannot legally be in a person’s possession in quantities larger than nine grams.
Possession of methamphetamine isn’t normally prosecuted at the federal level. If the federal government elects to prosecute, a possession conviction can result in as much as one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Offenders who are found guilty more than once?
Expect that jail sentence to double for the second conviction and triple for the third conviction and beyond.
What Constitutes Manufacturing
From a legal perspective, manufacturing a controlled substance such as methamphetamine for the purposes of distribution is defined as the preparation, conversion, compounding, processing, propagation, or production of a controlled substance.
This can mean being indirectly or directly involved in the extraction of the substance from other, natural substances, the chemical synthesis, or a combination of the two.
Even labeling or relabeling containers with the drug is considered manufacturing and can land you in legal trouble for manufacturing with an intent to sell. Here’s where drug trafficking charges begin.
Penalties for Methamphetamine Trafficking
The penalties if someone is found guilty of trafficking in this controlled substance are much more severe than simple possession.
According to the law, trafficking in methamphetamine occurs if the offender intentionally or knowingly distributes, dispenses, or manufactures the drug.
Any amount over five grams is charged under federal trafficking laws, and federal prosecutors don’t take trafficking lightly. A first-time offender could wind up spending 40 years in prison if quantities exceed personal use!
When an offender has a prior felony drug conviction — often time, it’s game over. This is when the option for a life sentence is brought to the table.
If you or someone you love is facing meth trafficking charges, our first piece of advice is don’t do it alone. The federal court system isn’t the same as working with state-level judges. You need an experienced Houston drug crimes attorney who understands the federal legal system, and who can provide you the information you need and the representation you deserve.