Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

When you find yourself facing federal charges for manufacturing controlled substances, the stakes couldn’t be higher. These felony penalties are severe, with the potential for lengthy prison sentences, significant fines, and the forfeiture of personal assets. Understanding the complexities of these charges is essential to mounting an effective defense. As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago, I have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through this challenging process. This article provides an in-depth look at federal drug manufacturing charges under 21 U.S.C. § 841, including relevant statutes, potential penalties, common defenses, and the necessity of skilled legal representation.

The Statute and Relevant Laws

Federal drug manufacturing charges are prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 841. This statute makes it illegal to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances. It also covers the possession of controlled substances with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense them. The definition of “manufacture” is extensive, encompassing the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, or processing of a drug or substance, either directly or indirectly.

Understanding Illinois Controlled Substances Act 720 ILCS 570/407(b)(1): Possession with Intent to Deliver on School Grounds

Illinois has strict laws to deter drug-related activities, especially near schools. The Illinois Controlled Substances Act, specifically 720 ILCS 570/407(b)(1), focuses on the possession of controlled substances with the intent to deliver on school property. This statute underscores the state’s commitment to protecting children and maintaining safe educational environments. The law enhances penalties for drug offenses occurring on school grounds, reflecting the gravity of these crimes and their potential impact on students and communities.

The Statute and Definitions

Drug possession charges in Chicago are serious under any circumstances, but they become significantly more severe when they occur in a school zone. The penalties are tougher, and the social stigma can be devastating. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of defending against drug possession in a school zone charges in Chicago, including an understanding of relevant Illinois statutes, the legal process, and effective defense strategies.

Understanding Drug Possession Charges in a School Zone

Under Illinois law, specifically 720 ILCS 570/407(b), the penalties for drug possession are enhanced if the offense occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, including public or private elementary or secondary schools, or any area designated as a school zone. This statute aims to protect students from the dangers associated with drug activities, reflecting a societal commitment to ensure safe educational environments.

Drug trafficking is a serious federal offense under United States law, particularly under 21 USC § 841, which prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances, or the possession of controlled substances with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense. This comprehensive review delves into the intricacies of this statute, contrasts it with Illinois state laws, and explores the potential legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

Federal Statute: 21 USC § 841

Legal Definitions and Scope:

Federal authorities announced charges against 13 men for operating an “open-air” drug market in which they sold fentanyl-laced heroin and cocaine. They have since been charged with drug trafficking related to the sale and manufacture of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. The men are suspected to be members of the Traveling Vice Lords gang. Authorities say they ran a multi-year investigation into the crew executing search warrants at multiple locations where the drugs were sold. Multiple locations throughout Chicago and Chicago suburbs were targeted as part of the investigation.

Authorities seized more than a kilo of cocaine, more than 250 grams of heroin containing fentanyl, 10 firearms, two 50-round drum ammunition magazines, several extended ammunition magazines, and nine vehicles. 

What is an “Open-Air” Drug Market?

While many people believe that “drug trafficking” and “drug dealing” are interchangeable, the law casts a broader net. And the fact that state drug trafficking policy varies considerably, both states have rules that make drug trafficking illegal.

If you manufacture, transport, market, or administer illicit drugs, you will be charged with drug trafficking.

When you are caught with a certain amount of some illicit drug, you will be charged with drug trafficking. It is valid even though you did not manufacture, purchase, distribute, or transport the drugs. If you have drugs in your hands and the volume reaches the legally defined distribution amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking.

A Jefferson Park Smoke Shop owner and operator has defeated charges that he unlawfully sold drugs to undercover officers. The owner was facing four counts, two felonies, and two misdemeanors. The man was accused of selling marijuana from his smoke shop but confessed only to smoking marijuana. 

Separately, building inspectors shut down the building that the owner was operating out of. As of right now, the smoke shop is shut down and will not be reopening. The landlord claims that he tossed the tenant due to his legal troubles. The tenant claims that building inspectors shut down the building due to rotten columns. As it stands, the tenant is correct. The building was cited for rotting or broken columns, a lack of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and improperly stored flammable materials. All of that would be on the landlord and not the tenant. 

Suspect Victim of Hate Crime

It does not happen as often as it should, but sometimes, corporations face criminal charges related to their conduct. Pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS have recently been targeted by state governments for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The drug chains are accused of dispersing hundreds of thousands of pills per week which were then diverted to pill mills. Massive upticks in opioid medication distribution did not trigger red flags for anyone involved. The chains are accused of knowingly helping cause the epidemic.

State governments have filed criminal and civil charges against various corporations and their executives, some of whom were given decades-long prison sentences for their role in distributing pills to black-market merchants. CVS settled a similar lawsuit for a reported $870 million. Walgreens is facing a similar judgment if they lose at trial. Meanwhile, Perdue Pharmaceutical has reached a tentative $6 billion with the U.S. government with much of the money paid directly by the Sackler family, which owns the company. 

The case against Walgreens

Two men meet in rehab. Neither is ready to commit to a life of sobriety. The one man sells the other man drugs or arranges for him to get access to drugs, and that man dies. Now, the other man is facing homicide charges. He is convicted of giving the other man a fatal dose of drugs. He pleads guilty and is sentenced to seven years.

Prosecutions such as these are becoming more popular and increasing the risk to drug dealers or even those who procure drugs from a drug dealer to deliver to a friend who is going to share the drugs with them. In this case, the victim’s parents pushed police to investigate the overdose as a homicide. Police were able to recover cell phone exchanges between the two men. Importantly, one exchange involved the victim complaining that he believed he overpaid for his drugs. The defendant responded by telling him he had given him the correct amount and the correct change. 

The Controversy Surrounding This Law

The federal government has seized a private plane and 100 kilograms of cocaine from a suspected Mexico-to-Chicago pipeline. 80 kilos were seized from a vehicle in Chicago and another 20 were found in a hotel room. The plane was seized as part of the investigation. Authorities believe that the plane made its way to the Gary International Airport by way of Houston. The drugs were eventually found here in Chicago. Three men are now facing charges related to drug trafficking

Private Jets and Drug Trafficking

Despite the cost of private jets, they are becoming much more popular among cartels and other traffickers. Private jets can look like personal business jets, so they provide good cover in plain sight. In many cases, these planes are coming from Brazil, which has been red-flagged as a major narco hotspot after mechanics found cocaine on a plane that had radioed for help. 

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