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White Plains Drug Conspiracy Lawyer

The federal government often exploits the powerful law enforcement tool of drug conspiracy law when targeting drug trafficking networks. If you are charged with a drug conspiracy, you should be aware that it is the closest thing to a “thought crime” in the realm of criminal offenses. If you have entered into an agreement to commit a drug offense, a conviction will carry the same sentence as if you actually completed the crime. Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and DEA, as well as federal prosecutors, use drug conspiracy charges to implicate large numbers of people, including those that had almost no involvement in the intended federal drug crime.

Drug Conspiracy Law Provides a Powerful Weapon for Federal Prosecutors

If you are facing a federal drug conspiracy charge, the government has stacked the deck against you. This makes it imperative that you retain federal drug conspiracy attorneys who understand the unique challenges of defending against a drug conspiracy charge to prevent exposure to mandatory minimum sentencing.

The first way that the drug conspiracy law provides the state with an advantage is that there is no requirement that you commit an “overt act.” When you are charged with any type of conspiracy other than a conspiracy to commit a drug offense, you cannot be convicted for entering into an agreement to engage in criminal conduct unless you commit an “overt act” in furtherance of the conspiracy. Under the legal standards established by U.S. v. Shabani, there is no such requirement to be convicted of a federal drug conspiracy. This essentially means that the offense is committed as soon as two people agree to commit a drug crime, even if they do not take any action to carry out the conspiracy and they lack any feasible way to engage in the crime.

Drug conspiracy law also favors prosecutors in another way, specifically relating to the prison term to which they can subject the conspirators. The maximum sentencing for most conspiracies under federal law is five years in federal prison. If you are convicted of a federal drug conspiracy, you will be sentenced to the penalty that would have been imposed had you completed the substantive offense.

Another harsh consequence of being charged with a drug conspiracy under federal law is that you ultimately may be sentenced for a crime that carries a much more severe penalty than the offense that was the subject of your alleged agreement. By way of example, a friend might tell you that he is going to travel across the border and buy five pounds of marijuana, which you agree he can store in your shed. When your friend is in Mexico, he instead buys twenty kilograms of cocaine. You can be convicted of the much harsher penalties associated with the large quantity of cocaine, even though you had no idea that your friend was going to purchase cocaine. Because you conspired to possess a controlled substance, you can be convicted for the penalties governing the possession of twenty kilos of cocaine.

Defense Strategies When Facing Drug Conspiracy Charges

When the Government is using the powerful tool of a drug conspiracy charge, you cannot afford to proceed without federal drug conspiracy attorneys who have extensive experience defending this type of charge in Federal Court. You can be punished as though you engaged in a criminal offense merely because you agreed to do so. Further, you can be punished for committing a very serious crime even though the offense to which you agreed was far less serious. Because many federal drug offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences, your agreement to commit a relatively minor drug crime could land you in federal prison for many years.

The government cannot convict you of a drug conspiracy unless it proves two elements: (1) an agreement between two or more people to violate federal drug law; and (2) each of the alleged conspirators were aware of the agreement and joined in. Both of these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the federal prosecutor.

Former prosecutors Jeffrey Greco and Dustan Neyland challenge every aspect of the Assistant United States Attorney’s case and carefully scrutinize investigative techniques like wiretaps, searches, and other federal law enforcement procedures. Some of the defense strategies we might employ include:

Defendant Did Not Know the Plan: If the defendant does not know of the plan to commit the drug offense and/or did not agree to join in the plan, the defendant cannot be convicted. For example, a truck driver that transports drugs hidden amidst other cargo cannot be convicted if he does not know that drugs are hidden in his load. Although the truck driver furthered the conspiracy, he was not aware of the plan, so he is not guilty under federal law.

Motions to Suppress: Drugs or paraphernalia might be subject to suppression for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion for the stop of a vehicle;
  • Federal agents falsely claimed they had consent to search; and
  • The execution of the search exceeded the scope of the warrant.

Charged with Wrong Conspiracy: Sometimes the government will have sufficient evidence that a defendant is a drug dealer, but the prosecutor will allege a conspiracy with the wrong alleged co-conspirators. Even if the government establishes a person is a drug dealer, the defendant cannot be convicted of conspiracy without proof of an agreement with the co-conspirators in the indictment.

Withdrawal: Under certain conditions, a clear and unequivocal withdrawal from the conspiracy can provide a valid defense.

Contact Our Federal Drug Conspiracy Law Firm

Our attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC have represented many defendants in serious drug cases in Federal Court, including individuals charged with federal drug conspiracies. For your convenience, our offices are located close to the Southern District Federal Courthouse and the Eastern District Federal Courthouse. Please call us today at (914) 358-9146 or click here to schedule your free consultation, so we can start fighting for you.