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Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties

According to federal criminal law, drug trafficking is defined as manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense an illegal drug or controlled substance. The amount of narcotics a person has in his/her possession determines the specific range of criminal penalties, which includes a federal prison sentence and fines worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. 

The following is an overview of the federal drug trafficking penalties based on the types of controlled substances: 

Heroin (Schedule I) 

A first offense for trafficking between 100 and 999 grams of heroin mixture is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then imprisonment is between 20 years and a life sentence. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the minimum prison term is a life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking one kilogram or more of heroin mixture is punishable by federal imprisonment ranging from 10 years to a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is 20 years. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual or $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is life imprisonment. 

Two or more prior offenses carry life imprisonment. 

LSD (Schedule I) 

A first offense for trafficking between one gram and nine grams of LSD mixture is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then imprisonment is between 20 years and a life sentence. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the minimum prison term is a life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking 10 grams or more of LSD mixture is punishable by federal imprisonment ranging from 10 years to a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is 20 years. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual or $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is life imprisonment. 

Two or more prior offenses carry life imprisonment. 

Cocaine (Schedule II) 

A first offense for trafficking between 500 and 4999 grams of cocaine mixture, or between five and 49 grams of cocaine base mixture is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then imprisonment is between 20 years and a life sentence. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the minimum prison term is a life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking five kilograms or more of cocaine mixture, or 50 grams or more of cocaine base mixture is punishable by federal imprisonment ranging from 10 years to a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is 20 years. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual or $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is life imprisonment. 

Two or more prior offenses carry life imprisonment. 

Fentanyl (Schedule II) 

A first offense for trafficking between 40 and 399 grams of fentanyl mixture, or between ten and 99 grams of fentanyl analogue mixture is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then imprisonment is between 20 years and a life sentence. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the minimum prison term is a life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking 400 grams or more of fentanyl mixture, or 100 grams or more of fentanyl analogue mixture is punishable by federal imprisonment ranging from 10 years to a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is 20 years. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual or $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is life imprisonment. 

Two or more prior offenses carry life imprisonment. 

Methamphetamine (Schedule II) 

A first offense for trafficking between five and 49 grams of pure methamphetamine, or between 50 and 499 grams of meth mixture is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then imprisonment is between 20 years and a life sentence. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the minimum prison term is a life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking 50 grams or more of pure meth, or 500 grams or more of meth mixture is punishable by federal imprisonment ranging from 10 years to a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is 20 years. 

A second offense carries a federal prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual or $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved in the offense, the minimum prison term is life imprisonment. 

Two or more prior offenses carry life imprisonment. 

Other Schedule I & II Drugs 

A first offense for any amount of any other Schedule I or II narcotic is punishable by federal imprisonment for up to 20 years, as well as a maximum fine of $1 million for an individual or $5 for a group. If the offense involves a serious injury or death, then the federal prison term ranges from 20 years and life imprisonment. 

A second offense for any amount of any other Schedule I or II drug carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, as well as a fine of up to $2 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. 

Marijuana 

A first offense for trafficking less than 50 kilograms of cannabis, or between one and 49 plants is punishable by a maximum federal prison term of five years, as well as a fine of up to $250,000 for an individual or $1 million for a group. A second offense carries a prison sentence of up to ten years, as well as a maximum fine of $500,000 for an individual or $2 million for a group. 

A first offense for trafficking between 50 and 99 kilograms of cannabis, or between 50 and 99 plants is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years, as well as a maximum fine of $1 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, then the range of the federal prison term is between 20 years and life imprisonment. 

A second offense for trafficking between 50 and 99 kilograms of cannabis, or between 50 and 99 plants carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, as well as a fine of up to $2 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved, a conviction results in mandatory life imprisonment. 

A first offense for trafficking between 100 and 999 kilograms of cannabis, or between 100 and 999 plants is punishable by a federal prison term ranging from five years to 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $2 million for an individual or $5 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, the range of the prison sentence is between 20 years and life imprisonment. 

A second offense for trafficking between 100 and 999 kilograms of cannabis, or between 100 and 999 plants carries a prison sentence ranging from 10 years and life imprisonment, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved, a conviction carries a mandatory life sentence. 

A first offense for trafficking 1,000 kilograms or more of cannabis, or 1,000 or more plants is punishable by a prison term ranging from 10 years and a life sentence, as well as a maximum fine of $4 million for an individual or $10 million for a group. If the offense involved a serious injury or death, a conviction can result in imprisonment ranging from 20 years to a life sentence. 

A second offense for trafficking 1,000 kilograms or more of cannabis, or 1,000 or more plants carries a prison sentence between 20 years and life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $8 million for an individual and $20 million for a group. If a serious injury or death was involved, a conviction can lead to mandatory life imprisonment. 

If you have been accused of federal drug trafficking in Denver, CO, call the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. at (303) 622-3281 or complete our online contact form today to request a free consultation with an experienced federal criminal attorney. 

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