What Penalties Come with Millions in Heroin and Meth in Colorado?
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
A recent drug bust in Colorado Springs uncovered a huge stash of heroin and methamphetamine worth millions. This bust will come with heavy penalties for the offenders.
In the recent sting operation, the Metro Vice Narcotics and Intelligence Unit seized almost 11 pounds of heroin, valued at $2.4 million on the streets. They also seized over 38 pounds of methamphetamine, which is valued at $6.3 million on the streets. A stash of firearms, two grams of cocaine and $24,000 in cash were also seized.
Though the drugs were seized in Colorado Springs, the trafficking operation was connected to Denver groups.
No arrests were made at the time of seizure, but when the offenders are found and arrested, the charges most likely to be made will be for drug trafficking.
What Colorado Law Says about Trafficking Drugs
The Colorado statutes on drug trafficking prohibit the following:
- The manufacture, dispensation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance
- The possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute
- The attempt to induce or conspire with one or more other individuals to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute a controlled substance or possess with intent to commit those behaviors
- The possession of chemicals, equipment, or supplies with intent of manufacturing a controlled substance
For a drug trafficking conviction of a controlled substance, the penalties depend on the type and amount of the drug in question. In general, the more addictive and dangerous a drug is considered by the state, the tougher the penalties.
For example, the sale or distribution of 112 grams of an anabolic steroid results in a penalty of up to six years in prison. However, the same amount of methamphetamine or heroin results in a penalty of up to 32 years in prison.
With that in mind, you can see that the individuals who will eventually face charges in connection to the above-mentioned drug bust will likely be facing an extremely long sentence.
It’s also important to know that charges can even apply for marijuana, because even though the recreational use of cannabis is legal here, there are limits. Drug trafficking charges can apply if cannabis use falls outside of legal guidelines.
Drug trafficking charges for cannabis apply according to the following schedule:
- 4-12 oz. marijuana or 2-6 oz. concentrate = Level 4 drug felony
- 12 oz.-5 lbs. marijuana or 6 oz.-2.5 lbs. concentrate = Level 3 drug felony
- 5-50 lbs. marijuana or 2.5-25 lbs. concentrate = Level 2 drug felony
- More than 50 lbs. marijuana or more than 25 lbs. concentrate = Level 1 drug felony
Penalties for Trafficking Controlled Substances in Colorado
Typical penalties fall along the following guidelines.
Level 1 drug misdemeanor
Penalties include six to 18 months in jail and between $500 and $5,000 in fines.
Level 3 drug felony
Penalties include two to six years in prison and between $2,000 and $500,000 in fines.
Level 2 drug felony
Penalties include four to 16 years in prison and between $3,000 and $750,000 in fines.
Level 1 drug felony
Penalties include eight to 32 years in prison and between $5,000 and $1 million in fines.
If you have a record of repeat offenses in drug crimes, you will likely face even tougher sentencing.
Since most drug trafficking charges are felonies, a conviction can mean long-lasting, serious consequences. The steep fines and prison time are tough enough on their own. However, a felony conviction goes beyond this, and can have adverse effects on all kinds of things in your life, including future employment opportunities.
You may be forced to take a lower-paying job because a felony record prevents you from advancing in your career. Other privileges, like child custody and the right to vote, may also be suspended. Bottom line: a felony charge affects nearly every area of your life in a negative way.
How Can You Protect Your Rights and Future If You are Facing a Drug Trafficking Charge?
Only a knowledgeable Denver criminal attorney who has successfully handled drug trafficking cases like yours will be able to explain the penalties associated with your specific charges. They will be able to look at the facts surrounding your case in order to help you craft the strongest defense possible. That way, you will have the best possible chance at negotiating a lesser sentence or potentially even having your charges dismissed or dropped.
Here is a list of defenses that may apply to your case:
- Lack of drug possession
- Unwitting possession
- Drugs were planted
Check with your attorney to see which other defenses may be used in your unique situation.
To avoid the long prison sentences associated with drug trafficking convictions, it’s essential to schedule a consultation with an attorney who has a proven defense record.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.