Earlier this fall a San Diego man was arrested when police found more than 156 pounds of drugs in his car. According to reports, the man met with a police source and offered to sell “large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin.” The source negotiated a deal and agreed to meet later that week for the exchange. Police searched the man’s vehicle when he arrived for the exchange and found heroin and more than 71 kilos of methamphetamine. He was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
Methamphetamine Crimes in San Diego
Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has a “high potential for abuse” which can lead to “severe psychological or physical dependence.” Simply put, methamphetamine is viewed as a very dangerous substance at both the state and local levels. Under Health and Safety Code 11379 HSC it is a crime to transport, import, sell, furnish, administer, or give away methamphetamine in the state of California.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Trafficking is defined as the “illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.” So, kind of trafficking refers to the grand scheme of drug crimes in California. How does the state distinguishing between charges for the sale or distribution of methamphetamine and methamphetamine trafficking? A few different factors go into the determination.
The biggest factor is typically the quantity or amount of drugs involved the transaction. If a person has a large quantity of methamphetamine they are more likely to be charged with trafficking than distribution. Having large quantities tends to indicate that there may be other illegal activity, including manufacturing and transportation, involved.
So, sales and distribution of smaller quantities of methamphetamine will likely be charged as sale or distribution under 11379 HSC. If you’re caught trying to move larger quantities of methamphetamine, you’ll probably face charges for trafficking.
What are the Consequences for Methamphetamine Trafficking in San Diego?
Trafficking methamphetamine is a felony offense in California. Penalties can include:
- Felony probation
- $10,000 in fines, and/or
- 2, 3, or 4 years in a California state prison.
Enhanced Penalties for Trafficking Methamphetamine
The penalties for trafficking methamphetamine can be enhanced if there are any aggravating factors.
Trafficking Meth in Two or More Counties: If your methamphetamine trafficking crime involves two or more counties you can be sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Trafficking Meth Near a Rehab or Detox Clinic: You can face up to an additional 1-2 years in prison if you traffick methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment center, homeless shelter, or detox center.
Selling a Large Quantity of Methamphetamine: You can face an additional 3-15 years in prison if you sell more than one kilogram of methamphetamine.
What Does the State Have to Prove If I’m Arrested for Trafficking Meth?
When you’re charged with a crime the state still has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This involved proving each element of the crime you’ve been accused of committing. When you’re facing charges for trafficking methamphetamine, the state must prove:
- You sold, imported, furnished, administered, gave away, or transported methamphetamine; and
- You did so knowingly and intentionally.
In other words, the state has to prove that you knew you had the drugs and that you intended to distribute them in violation of the law.
You can offer certain defenses to make it difficult for the state to build a case against you. These could include lack of knowledge, false accusation, or acting under force or duress.
Drug crime convictions can stay with you for life. You have the right to defend yourself, and an attorney can help. Contact our San Diego drug crime defense lawyers for immediate assistance today.