The TSA recently discovered luggage containing heat sealed bags of marijuana at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The bags of the illegal substance was being smuggled to Pittsburgh by a 39 year old Phoenix mother, who indicated that she was trying to make some extra money.
Agents first found bags of marijuana in just one piece of luggage that was still on the ground waiting to be loaded into the plane. This led to a search of other luggage already on the plane where they found two additional suitcases filled with bags of pot. The suitcases also contained mothballs.
Altogether, there was 92 pounds of marijuana found in three suitcases. A police report estimates that the street value of the marijuana is between $40,000-$50,000.
Once authorities were able to identify the passenger who checked the 3 suitcases, they immediately placed her under arrest. She now faces serious drug trafficking charges.
Transportation and the distribution of dangerous drugs is a very serious offense in Arizona. A prosecutor will attempt to prove that the drugs were transported for sale by using evidence such as the quantity of drugs, the way the drugs were packaged, the presence of scales or ledgers, or other relevant evidence.
A conviction for transportation of drugs for sale is a class 2 felony and can result in a fine of three times the value of the drugs, or $1,000, whichever is greater. Penalties for such crimes are steep including prison and/or probation. Probation will require 360 hours of community service and up to one year in county jail.
In this case, because the amount of drugs was so high, it’s likely that the suspect will face higher penalties. In all cases, if a defendant has any prior felony convictions, a conviction for transportation of dangerous drugs for sale can result in a vastly increased punishment. For example, the sentencing range for a class two felony conviction with at least two prior felony convictions is 10.5 to 35 years in prison.
It’s important to have an attorney in your corner when facing these types of drug trafficking charges. An attorney with knowledge and experience may find creative ways to have the charges against you lowered or even dismissed. Your attorney may also be able to work with the prosecutors involved to work out an arrangement that is beneficial to you. When it comes to sentencing, your attorney can work with the courts to get you the best possible outcome.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have an attorney working for you, it becomes difficult to know exactly how the courts will handle your case.
Contact attorney Charlie Naegle today to set up a consultation regarding any drug related charges you may be facing.