A 45-year-old Raleigh man was charged with trafficking in cocaine after making three sales on separate occasions to undercover Wake County law enforcement. The third sale was a ‘charm’ for Rogelio Cortez – or rather for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office – he was arrested during the third sale.
Bond was set at $1 million for Cortez, who did not have a known permanent address in Raleigh. He is still being held in jail on the drug trafficking charges. In total, he faces 11 drug crimes including multiple counts of possession, transporting, selling and delivering.
Drug crimes invoke North Carolina’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Drug crimes in North Carolina involving cocaine possession are punishable as, at least, a Class I felony. Trafficking in cocaine in North Carolina involves the sale, delivery, manufacture, transportation or possession of 28 or more grams of cocaine. Cortez was accused of delivering 28 to 200 grams to Wake County officers during the three controlled drug buys.
Penalties for trafficking in cocaine depend on the amount of drugs involved:
- 28 to 200 grams: Class G drug felony; 35 to 51 months in prison; $50,000 fine
- 200 to 400 grams: Class F drug felony; 70 to 93 months in prison; $100,000 fine
- 400 grams or more: Class D drug felony; 175 to 222 months in prison; $250,000 fine
Mandatory minimum sentences for felony drug crimes can result in harsh punishments. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled drug crime charges in the past can help you understand your best drug crime defense options.
Source: Raleigh News Observer, “Wake deputies charge cocaine trafficking after three undercover meetings,” April 15, 2013