Federal Drug Crimes

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice published in October of 2015, shows that 99.5% of drug offenders in federal prison were serving sentences for drug trafficking. Power and crack cocaine was the primary drug type for more than half of drug offenders in federal prison. Nearly a quarter of drug offenders in federal prison used a weapon in their most recent offense.

Federal drug laws provide for harsh penalties and minimum mandatory prison sentences for drug crimes. Although more than a third of drug offenders in federal prison at sentencing had either no or minimal criminal history, the „average prison sentence for federal drug offenders was more than eleven (11) years.

The median prison term was ten (10) years. Almost two-thirds of offenders were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than five (5) years up to and including twenty (20) years. Thirteen percent of federal drug offenders were sentenced to a term of imprisonment greater than twenty (20) years, while less than 1% were sentenced to a term of one (1) year or less.

Attorney for Drug Crimes in Federal Court in San Antonio, TX

If you were arrested for a drug crime being prosecuted in Federal Court in the Western District of Texas in the San Antonio Division, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represents clients charged with serious drug crimes in state and federal court in the greater San Antonio area. 

Don Flanary represents clients charged with serious drug crimes in state and federal court in the greater San Antonio area. Call (210) 738-8383 today. 


List of Commonly Prosecuted Drug Crimes in Federal Court

Federal law sets out the penalty structure for the most commonly prosecuted drug crimes in Federal Court including: 

  • 21 U.S.C. 841 for drug trafficking
  • 21 U.S.C. 844 for simple possession
  • 21 U.S.C. 846, 963 for attempt and conspiracy
  • 21 U.S.C. 841(f) for the distribution and possession of listed chemicals
  • 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(5) for cultivation on federal property
  • 21 U.S.C. 841(c) for drug offenses involving listed chemicals
  • 21 U.S.C. 841(g) for the Internet sales of date rape drugs
  • 21 U.S.C. 841(h) for dispensing controlled substances that are prescription drugs by means of the Internet
  • 21 U.S.C. 848 for continuing criminal enterprises (CCE)
  • 21 U.S.C. 854, 855 for investment of illicit drug profits
  • 21 U.S.C. 856 for establishing manufacturing operations
  • 21 U.S.C. 863 for trafficking in drug paraphernalia
  • 21 U.S.C. 1906 for financial transactions with designated foreign narcotics trafficker
  • 18 U.S.C. 924(c) for firearms and armor piercing ammunition in connection to drug trafficking crime
  • 18 U.S.C. 1956 for money laundering
  • 46 U.S.C. 70506 for maritime drug law enforcement

The Entrapment Defense in Federal Drug Prosecutions

In many federal drug cases, the defendant will raise an entrapment defense. The defense is powerful because once it is raised, the government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped. The government must prove either:

  1. the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime before being contacted by government agents (including an undercover law enforcement officer or confidential informant); or

  2. the defendant was not induced by the government agents to commit the crime.

When a person, before government contact, is predisposed to commit the crime, it is not entrapment if the government agents merely provide an opportunity to commit the crime. When determining whether the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime before being approached by government agents, the following factors are considered:

  1. whether the defendant demonstrated reluctance to commit the offense;

  2. the defendant’s character and reputation;

  3. whether government agents initially suggested the criminal activity;

  4. whether the defendant engaged in the criminal activity for profit; and

  5. the nature of the government’s inducement or persuasion.

When considering whether the defendant was induced by government agents to commit the offense, the courts look at whether the government agents created a substantial risk that an otherwise innocent person would commit an offense. That government conduct that can constitute entrapment can include:

  • coercive tactics
  • fraudulent representations
  • threats
  • pleas based on need
  • harassment
  • promises of reward
  • sympathy
  • friendship
  • persuasion

Additional Resources

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force - The OCDETF investigates and prosecutes drug trafficking and money laundering criminal conspiracies in the Western District of Texas and the San Antonio office including the most serious domestic and international drug trafficking organizations. The task force works with federal, state and local law enforcement agents to apply for and manage court-ordered electronic surveillance and wiretaps. The OCDETF Coordinator for the Western District of Texas is located in the San Antonio Division.

The Complete List Of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences - Visit the website of the Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) to find a list of the federal mandatory minimum penalties for all federal sentencing laws in drug crimes cases. The graph includes categories for the statute, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Provision, Description of the Crime, year created, the minimum prison sentence. Drug crimes with a minimum mandatory prison sentence including drug trafficking, drug importation, exportation, using a firearm during a drug crime.

Federal Trafficking Penalties - Visit the website of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to find a sentencing guideline chart listing the federal drug trafficking penalties for different quantities of each substance listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV or V (except marijuana), for a first or second offense.


Finding a Federal Drug Crime Lawyer in San Antonio, TX

After an arrest for a drug crime that will be prosecuted in federal court, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX, at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represents clients charged with a wide variety of drug trafficking and money laundering crimes prosecuted in the Western District of Texas in the San Antonio Division.

Call (210) 738-8383 today to discuss your case.


This article was last updated on Friday, December 30, 2016.

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