“Trafficking” under Massachusetts law is a serious drug crime that refers to possession of a drug with intent to distribute, over a certain limit. Less frequently, a trafficking indictment can also result from manufacturing or distributing these drugs, or bringing them into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from another state (or country). A trafficking conviction brings mandatory minimum prison sentences, so it’s important to have a skilled lawyer defending these charges.
Marijuana is legal for personal use in Massachusetts, but trafficking in 50 pounds or more is still a felony offense with a mandatory minimum penalty of one year in jail. If the quantity is over 100 pounds, the mandatory minimum is 2 years in state prison. A ton of marijuana carries a mandatory 3.5 years in state prison, and 5 tons carries an 8 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Phenmetrazine carry a mandatory minimum of 2 years in state prison for trafficking over 18 grams, 3.5 years for over 36 grams, 8 years for over 100 grams, and 12 years for over 200 grams.
Heroin, Morphine, and other Natural Opioids carry a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in state prison for trafficking over 18 grams, 5 years for over 36 grams, 8 years for over 100 grams, and 12 years for over 200 grams.
Fentanyl has a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in state prison, and a maximum of 20 years. Fentanyl does not have a tiered system of mandatory minimum penalties by weight, but Fentanyl trafficking defendants should be aware that they are very, very unpopular with the Massachusetts courts and law enforcement community.
Defending the Trafficking Case: As with many drug charges, defending a fentanyl case often begins with the motion to suppress evidence, in which the defense lawyer argues that the government’s evidence should be thrown out because they violated search and seizure laws. In one recent case, Attorney Piltser-Cowan got serious cocaine and firearm charges thrown by exploiting a traffic enforcement loophole that barred the traffic stop in which the drugs and guns were found. Attorney Piltser-Cowan has also been successful in getting low bails for clients in trafficking cases by showing problems with the search and seizure as early as the day he first meets his clients.
In other cases, defense strategies may include re-weighing the alleged drugs if they are close to one of the weight thresholds, making sure that law enforcement only counts the weight of the drug, and not the weight of packaging material, or showing that the Defendant was not the owner of the drugs, but merely present in the same home or car.
If you need help with a trafficking case, give us a call today at 617-906-6268 and make an appointment for a free consultation.