Months after a raid on his home, a popular professional skateboarder from San Diego is facing federal criminal drug charges. According to reports, police officers discovered a pound of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, mushrooms, hundreds of Xanax pills, and various distribution supplies in Rob Lorifice’s Encinitas home. Lorifice was home at the time of the raid and allegedly tried to flush some of the stash down the toilet before it could be discovered by police. He was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Why Was Lorifice Charged With a Federal Crime?
Both California state and the federal government have laws on the books criminalizing various drug-related activities. Possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute is a crime under both state and federal law. However, Lorifice has only been charged with a violation of federal drug laws. Why wasn’t he charged with a violation of California state law?
Whether you face federal or state charges often boils down to the specific details and circumstances of your crime. The state will typically have jurisdiction for crimes that are committed entirely within the state’s borders. Drug crimes that are typically charged as violations fo state law include simple possession and relatively-minor distribution schemes.
The federal government will typically have jurisdiction for crimes that are intricate and widespread. Large-scale drug distribution operations, much like the one Lorifice is accused of running, often involve activity in multiple states. For example, it’s common for distribution rings to involve trafficking or moving drugs across state lines and using federal banking institutions to transfer and mask cash transactions.
Lorifice is likely charged with federal drug crimes because of the scale of his operation. If he were only found in possession of a small amount of one type of drug, it’s quite possible that the federal government would step aside and let the state of California handle the charges.
How Do Prosecutors Prove Possession With Intent to Distribute?
It’s a crime to possess any controlled substance without a lawful purpose. The penalties for crimes of simple possession can be quite severe. When a person possesses more of a drug than would be reasonable for personal use, they can face enhanced criminal charges for possession with intent to distribute. The penalties for possession with intent to distribute are much more severe than those for simple possession.
How does the government prove that you possessed drugs with the intent to sell or distribute? Most possession with intent to sell cases rely heavily on circumstantial evidence. A prosecutor’s primary goal is to persuade a judge or jury that it would be reasonable to believe that you intended to sell the drugs you possessed.
So, in truth, the government doesn’t have to prove that you had the intent to sell. Instead, it simply has to make a strong argument that it’s reasonable to believe you had the intent to sell.
The following factors and evidence may be used to create a presumption that you intended to sell the drugs in your possession:
- The quantity of the drugs in your possession
- The type of drugs in your possession
- The presence or absence of drug paraphernalia
- The presence of scales, packaging materials, baggies, and other tools commonly used in distribution schemes, and
- Large quantities of cash on hand.
When officers raided Lorifice’s San Diego home, he was found in possession of large quantities of several types of drugs, a digital scale, packaging materials, and more than $16,000 in cash. When considered as a whole, it’s reasonable to believe that he didn’t intend to consume the drugs himself. Federal prosecutors will rely heavily on this evidence throughout the criminal case against the skateboarder.
Penalties for Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Sell
Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute is a violation of California state and federal law. The penalties for federal crimes tend to be more severe than those for state crimes. Specific penalties will depend on the quantity of the drug involved in the offense.
Officers found 193 grams of methamphetamine in Lorifice’s home during the raid. According to federal sentencing guidelines, possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine is punishable by between 10 years and life in prison.
Federal drug crimes are also punishable by substantial fines and/or probation.
Are you facing federal criminal drug charges? You need to speak with an attorney immediately. Contact the experienced legal team at the San Diego Criminal Law Center today. We will carefully review your case and help you fight to protect your future. Your first consultation is free, so call now.