Under U.S. federal law, it is illegal to possess, sell, distribute, manufacture, or transport outlawed controlled substances and illegal drugs. These actions are all heavily punished under federal sentencing guidelines. As any Columbus federal drug attorney will tell you, illegal drug importation and exportation are among the most harshly prosecuted, as these actions are strongly associated with cartels and large drug trafficking operations. Even a minor role in the exportation or importation of illegal drugs can lead to significant consequences and years of jail time.
Controlled Substances Import and Export Act
The federal Controlled Substances Import and Export Act makes it illegal to bring controlled substances into the United States or take such substances out of the United States without the appropriate licenses and permissions from the Attorney General. This includes both finished illegal drugs, as well as chemicals and raw materials needed to manufacture such drugs, such as poppy straw, coca leaves, or unprocessed opium.
For the purposes of bringing charges of illegal drug importation or exportation, the drugs do not have to actually cross any borders. Simply possessing the drugs in a warehouse before shipping, manufacturing the drugs to leave the country, or loading the drugs to leave on a ship can lead to import and export charges. In fact, the most common ways that people are arrested for violating the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act is getting caught bringing or possessing illegal drugs on board a vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle headed into or out of the United States. Even simply brokering a deal for or importing or exporting an otherwise legal chemical is illegal under this act if you have reason to believe that it will be used to manufacture a controlled substance.
Drug Trafficking Vs. Importing and Exporting Drugs
A question many people ask about importing and exporting illegal drugs is “How is the import or export of illegal drugs different from drug trafficking?” The simplest answer is: it isn’t. Many actions that could put you in violation of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act could just as easily get you convicted for drug trafficking under the Controlled Substances Act. Federal charges can be handed down under either statute for the same actions. In fact, if you participate in multiple stages of an operation committing multiple offenses by participating in multiple crimes, you could be charged with both offenses.
The main distinction between drug trafficking and importing or exporting illegal drugs is simply that drug trafficking is an offense that includes many more actions than just importing or exporting the drugs. Drug trafficking charges include the sale, delivery, transportation, manufacture, possession with intent to traffic, and illegal importation or exportation of unlawful controlled substances. While you could face drug trafficking charges or federal drug conspiracy charges for any of these actions, illegal importation and exportation charges can only stem from a much more limited number of actions—ones that include bringing a substance into the United States from abroad or out of the country into another.
Penalties of Importing and Exporting Illegal Drugs
If you are convicted of importing or exporting controlled substances without a proper permit, you face serious consequences under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. Almost all violations have a minimum sentence of at least 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $4,000,000 if you are convicted. In fact, if you are charged with illegally importing or exporting controlled substances, you can face up to life in federal prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines.
Not only will you spend years of your life incarcerated for the importation or exportation of illegal drugs, you will also face years of stigma and additional collateral consequences of a federal felony conviction. After serving your time, you still may have difficulty finding a job or housing. You will lose your license in Ohio for an extended period of time. You will be denied government benefits, including access to federal education loans and welfare benefits. You can even lose custody of your children.
Why You Need a Qualified Columbus Federal Drug Attorney to Successfully Fight Drug Importation and Exportation Charges
As you can see, charges related to the illegal importation or exportation of controlled substances are nothing to take lightly. You need to do everything you can to defend yourself against these charges to ensure that your case gets the best possible outcome. A qualified Columbus federal drug attorney gives you your best chance at successfully fighting these charges.
When you are accused of a federal drug crime, especially one as serious as illegal importation and exportation of controlled substances, you are likely to feel scared and overwhelmed. Your federal drug lawyer will stick by your side during every interaction with the legal system, whether you are being pressured to testify against another person, negotiating a plea deal, or even facing a trial in court. Your Columbus federal drug lawyer will carefully craft a defense that will get your case the optimal outcome and aggressively fight for your rights. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus federal drug attorneys won’t ever give up until your case is resolved with the best possible results.
If you’ve been arrested for a federal drug crime, call the federal drug defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck, and Associates today at (614) 500-3836 to set up a free consultation on your case. Get an honest assessment of the evidence against you, and find out how we may be able to help.
Facing Federal Criminal Charges? Contact Us
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering what your options are. The Columbus federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these types of cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Call a Columbus federal crime lawyer today for a free consultation. Contact us at (614) 500-3836 or email us via [email protected].