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The penalties for meth trafficking

Drug crimes are among the most frequently prosecuted crimes, both in Kansas state courts and in the federal courts. The Bureau of Judicial Statistics noted that in 2012, 33 percent federal criminal cases involved defendants charged with drug crimes. They also found using data from 2004 that 34 percent of state court prosecutions involved drug crimes.

One of the more frequently prosecuted drugs is Methamphetamine, more commonly referred to as meth. Meth is manufactured from commonly available cold and allergy medicines and is often done in meth labs that can be found in basements, rented buildings, and virtually anywhere large enough to assemble the necessary equipment.

The presence of equipment used for manufacturing meth are likely to suggest that a suspect is making meth for sale, which means if you are found with meth paraphernalia, the ingredients for meth or a sufficient quantity of the drug, you are likely to face trafficking or distribution charges.

The severity of the federal penalties for this charge cannot be understated. Possession of five to 49 grams of pure meth for a first offense brings a sentence of not less than 5 years, and as much as 40 years. If someone is seriously injured or dies, the penalty jumps to a mandatory minimum of 20 years to life. The fines can be as much as $5 million for an individual.

For a second offense, the mandatory minimum becomes 10 years to life and the fines escalate up to $8 million for an individual. For amounts of pure meth above 50 grams, a first offense carries a minimum 10 years to life sentence and a $10 million fine.

If you have had two prior offenses, and are found with more than 50 grams of pure meth or 500 grams of mixture, your sentence is life in prison with no parole and up to a $20 million fine.

Some men arrested in Thomas County, Kansas are likely looking at the prospect of very severe sentencing, given that the 13 pounds of meth found with them is the equivalent of 5896.7 grams.

Federal prosecutor will sometimes stack charges to pressure defendants into plea agreements, but with this quantity, that may not be necessary.

Source: cjonline.com, "Thomas County meth arrests lead to multiple federal drug charges," June 23, 2015

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