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Charges of trafficking in a drug or controlled substance are very serious matters that require representation by the most experienced defence counsel. When facing serious drug trafficking charges for narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine or illegal prescription drugs, you need a criminal defence lawyer who is current on the issues, meticulous at preparing your case and experienced in the trial system.
Drug trafficking is a major source of revenue for organised crime groups, many of whom are involved in other forms of serious crime such as firearms, modern slavery and immigration crime. Action against drug trafficking therefore has a much wider disruptive impact on organised criminal activity. This international trade involves growers, producers, couriers, suppliers and dealers. It affects almost all of our member countries, undermining political and economic stability, ruining the lives of individuals and damaging communities. The end-users and addicts are often the victims of a powerful and manipulative business.
Drug trafficking is often associated with other forms of crime, such as money laundering or corruption. Trafficking routes can also be used by criminal networks to transport other illicit products.
The crime of drug trafficking is similar to drug possession, since it requires that the perpetrator knowingly possesses an illegal controlled substance. Thus, an individual cannot engage in drug trafficking while being unaware that he or she is in possession of a drug, or if he or she reasonably but mistakenly believes that the substance is legal.
Trafficking means to prepare a drug of dependence for trafficking or to manufacture a drug of dependence, or to sell, exchange, offer or agree to sell or have in possession for sale a drug of dependence. For example, the presence of a large quantity of drugs, in addition to the possession of goods, materials or equipment (such as plastic bags, measuring scales, large quantities of cash or drug presses) may indicate to Police that the drugs are intended to be sold and/or trafficked.
You could be charged with drug trafficking if you were manufacturing, cultivating, transporting, selling, or distributing drugs, as well as simply possessing them. This generalized blanket term allows the police to make more drug trafficking arrests and it can make it easier for the prosecution to land a conviction. But a conviction is never guaranteed.
It is important to remember that the province has the burden to prove that you were in possession of a certain drug and that you sold or intended to sell that drug. Many times, proving felony drug possession is fairly easy but the intent to distribute is where the drug trafficking case becomes difficult for the province to prove.
A drug possession conviction typically carries a sentence of a year or more, depending on the substance and amount found. Since drug trafficking is a more serious crime, you could spend up to several years in prison. To ensure the best outcome for your drug trial, you’ll want to hire a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending clients charged with drug crimes.
Constructive possession exists if there is evidence proving you exercised dominion and control over the drugs and had knowledge of their presence. For example, if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is stopped by police who find drugs in it and it is unclear if they belonged to someone, in particular, everyone in the vehicle could be charged with possession.
In law, like the trafficking offence, there is a tremendous difference in penalty depending on the Schedule in which the substance is registered. For instance, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking is punished much more severely than P4P in marijuana. Even within a Schedule, penalties differ. P4P in crack cocaine will attract higher sentences than in powdered cocaine.
Penalties for trafficking or possession for the purposes of trafficking are serious. Depending on the drug type and amount, the sentence can range from 18 months or a $2,000 fine or both to life imprisonment. For example, marijuana trafficking or possession for the purposes of trafficking may be 5 years less a day for amounts under 30 kilograms and life imprisonment for any amount over 30 kilograms. Trafficking in cocaine or heroin is almost always punishable by imprisonment for two years or more. You may also face life imprisonment if you traffic over 30 kilograms of heroin or cocaine. Importing Trafficking LSD could yield a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
In 2012, a series of amendments to the CDSA resulted in many mandatory minimum sentences associated with certain types of P4P (usually where the accused has a prior similar offence or the possession was accompanied by other factors like violence or weapons. These minimum sentences can be for a period of 1-2 years.
Drug Trafficking is a very serious crime in Canada, which will put one’s liberty, employment and immigration status at stake. Drug trafficking charges could result in jail time, seized assets, and a ruined reputation. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to contact a local drug crime attorney to discuss your case and learn about your options moving forward.
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