Crimes committed in Texas sometimes become federal prosecutions. Generally when the federal government assumes jurisdiction over criminal cases the penalties and the actual amont of time spent in prison will be more severe than under the Texas legal system. More often than not, these cases involve wide-ranging conspiracies between many people. One group in Lubbock has been accused of such a conspiracy.
Forty different defendants were arrested in something called “Operation Taste the Rainbow” in Lubbock. These people have been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas with drug and gun crimes as well as conspiracy to commit crimes.
According to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, the U.S. Attorney said that many of those arrested have significant criminal backgrounds. The FBI targeted these individuals because their criminal activities were increasing crime in the local community.
Those arrested are accused of a litany of crimes, including distribution of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of firearms, and conspiracy. Here’s what they now have to face in federal court.
Under federal law, it is illegal for someone to intentionally or knowingly manufacture, dispense, or distribute methamphetamines. If convicted of this crime in federal court, a person can face mandatory minimum sentencing for it. They may also be required to pay large fines.
Trafficking Between 5 and 49 Grams of Methamphetamine
This crime can result in a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 40 years in federal prison and a fine of $5 million. The mandatory minimum sentence for this crime is five years in prison.
Trafficking 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine
If found trafficking larger quantities of methamphetamine, it’s prosecuted as a Class A felony. This can result in a maximum penalty of life in prison and a possible fine of $10 million.
The mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking at this level is 10 years in federal prison.
Unlawful Possession of Firearms
Often, those involved in drug trafficking also possess numerous firearms for protection – and this kind of weapons possession is illegal. Federal law has many different types of firearm laws and regulations intended to guide citizens.
You can face federal firearm charges if you:
- Have been prohibited from owning a firearm due to previous convictions
- Are trading in firearms when you are not permitted to do so
- Are in possession of prohibited weapons such as grenades
In the case of unlawful possession of firearms, it is illegal in both Texas and under Federal law to carry a firearm while committing a crime. It is also illegal to possess a firearm if you are affiliated or associated with gang activity.
This crime is generally a misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a felony. At its most serious, these charges can result in up to 10 years in prison and mandatory fines of as much as $10,000.
Federal Conspiracy Charges
Federal conspiracy charges can often appearing confusing because the tentacles of the conspiracy are far-reaching. The confusion sometimes lies in the fact that a crime has not been committed but instead has been planned. The planning can actually be charged in combinations with other crimes actually committed.
Conspiracy occurs when someone agrees to commit a crime with another person or group of people. They must commit some overt act to further the plan to commit the crime.
For example, if you conspire with others to traffic methamphetamines and at least one person does something in furtherance of that plan, then everyone can be charged with conspiracy.
Under federal law, the government can take multiple avenues to prosecute conspiracy. There are conspiracy offenses established for specific conduct as well as general conspiracy statutes designed to punish any sort of conduct that won’t fit into a more specific category.
The penalty for conspiracy is up to five years in prison. However, the penalty for conspiracy cannot exceed the penalty for the crime to which it was connected.
Those involved in the takedown of “Operation Taste the Rainbow” are trying to do their part to help reduce crime in cities across Texas. With the help of the federal government, including the U.S. Attorneys Office and the FBI, large criminal operations are being discoveredand prosecuted.
However, if you’re caught up in a big case like the one in Lubbock, you’re entitled to defend yourself against the charges. That’s why it’s vital to understand any charges against you and your rights in the court process, whether it’s in federal or Texas court.