On Sept. 28, it was reported that a California federal court sentenced a 24-year-old man to more than three years in prison for smuggling marijuana into the country. The report stated that the man, who pleaded guilty to a drug charge in January, smuggled more than 11,000 pounds of the drug in from Mexico.
The man was one of four individuals taken into custody in late July 2014. Authorities reported that two vessels that were believed to be smuggling drugs were spotted in international waters. Two Coast Guard vessels attempted to head the boats off, and a 55-foot boat that was found to be full of marijuana was abandoned. The four men attempted to flee in a smaller panga boat but were taken into custody two hours later.
The other three defendants in the case were identified as a 25-year-old man, a 46-year-old man and a 49-year-old man. They all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import marijuana. They received prison sentences of 21, 78 and 30 months, respectively. The fourth defendant also pleaded guilty to conspiring to import marijuana.
Those who have been issued these types of drug charges may be facing serious consequences, including several years in prison. Depending on the specifics of the case, a criminal law attorney could potentially negotiate to have the charges and the consequences reduced or develop a strategy to fight the charges. For example, the attorney may argue that the drugs belonged to someone else and that the defendant had no idea that there were drugs in the vicinity. If more than one person was involved in the case, the attorney may also negotiate to have the defendant provide information in exchange for a reduction in the penalty.
Source: Santee Patch, "Last Panga Boat Drug Smuggler Sentenced", Mirna Alfonso, Sept. 28, 2015