For decades the federal authorities have targeted drug crimes with stiff sentences. However, incarceration is not always the end of the matter. Recently, a man from Texas was sentenced to 30 years on five drug-related felonies that were committed when he was in prison.
Joel Lopez, 38, committed the crimes on a cell phone from the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion in Illinois, according to media reports. He was accused of passing the phone number of a co-defendant in Texas who distributes drugs to two fellow inmates at the prison.
Prosecutors said money from the drugs deals was then wired back via bank accounts to the co-defendant who then gave some of it to Lopez’s family in Texas.
Lopez was convicted of conspiring to distribute 21 kilograms of cocaine, more than 10 kilograms of crystal meth and more than 19 kilograms of marijuana. He was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. It was Lopez’s federal third conviction for drug crimes.
Many drug crimes are dealt with by the federal authorities. Offenses such as trafficking or distribution often attract long prison sentences. Our Texas criminal defense attorneys represent people who have been charged with drug offenses.
When Drug Crimes Become Federal Offenses
If you are arrested for a drug crime, it may not always be clear if you will be prosecuted at a federal or a local level. While it makes little sense for the federal authorities to become involved in crimes like marijuana possession, the feds have a drug enforcement remit.
While there is a longstanding federal strategy in place to fight the abuse and distribution of drugs, every state also has its own set of drug laws.
Typically, most federal drug convictions concern trafficking, while most of the state and local arrests are made on charges of possession. About half of all local drug arrests are for the possession of marijuana, states NOLO.
The severity of the consequences of a conviction set federal drug offenses aside from local ones.
Federal drug charges usually entail harsher punishments and longer prison sentences. While drug possession is usually charged as a misdemeanor and may involve a short jail term, drug dealers often receive long sentences at federal facilities.
If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, it’s vital that you get experienced legal representation because you could be facing a long incarceration. We will protect your rights if you are accused of drug trafficking offenses. Call us today at (512) 399-2311.