A Louisianan charged with a drug crime may be facing anything from simple possession of marijuana to a more serious felony charge of drug trafficking. This post will focus on those who may have been charged with the more significant offense of drug trafficking. It is becoming more common for prosecutors to identify and target drug trafficking conducted by individuals who they believe are involved in drug cartels.
A drug cartel is an organization in which the individuals involved are entangled in drug trafficking, whether by promoting, controlling or otherwise advancing drug trafficking methods. Sometimes prosecutors try to target individuals they believe are involved in drug cartels by pursuing criminal charges for other matters. For example, prosecutors who believe individuals are active in a drug cartel may seek to prosecute them not only for drug trafficking, but also for crimes such as fraud, theft, gambling, bribery or money laundering.
In an effort to bolster their case, prosecutors may also seek to charge an individual with conspiracy. A conspiracy charge arises when prosecutors allege an individual has helped another to commit a crime, such as drug distribution or drug manufacturing. Conspiracy charges can be particularly troublesome for defendants because prosecutors will seek to establish that a small amount of planning or cooperation between two or more individuals amounts to the crime of conspiracy. Prosecutors may also seek to charge an individual with drug crimes under both state and federal law, resulting in lengthy prison sentences if convictions are obtained. A successful defense attorney may be able to argue that pursuing charges for alleged criminal activity at the state and federal level would result in double jeopardy and is therefore prohibited.
Whether a Louisianan has been charged with drug trafficking or another of the aforementioned crimes, he or she will likely want to seek aggressive defense counsel to protect his or her rights. A conviction for any of the aforementioned offenses can have serious consequences for an individual.
Source: FindLaw, "Drug Cartels and Organized Crime," accessed Oct. 7, 2016