29 Jan

A Charlotte man may well spend the rest of his natural life in prison after receiving a hefty sentence for federal drug and weapons charges. The 28-year-old man was sentenced to a 60-year prison term for his involvement in a local drug trafficking ring. Investigators say the man was able to sneak in hundreds of pounds of marijuana through airports in North Carolina.

The man allegedly used couriers to transport marijuana and cash between California and North Carolina. An assistant at one of the California airports helped prevent the couriers from being identified at security checkpoints. Many of the couriers in this case were friends and family members.

The drug trafficking operation reportedly began to crumble in 2010, however, when investigators found about 30 pounds of marijuana and more than $117,000 at one of the couriers’ homes. An additional search at the defendant’s home yielded about $100,000 in cash, along with at least one firearm and evidence of money laundering. Additional guns were found in the man’s vehicle. Even though the man initially denied owning the home, officers were able to link the man to the property through records and equipment purchases.

This defendant already has been convicted of at least one felony in the past. That fact may have contributed to the length of his sentence. News reports do not indicate whether the man pleaded guilty in the case. Individuals accused of drug crimes in North Carolina may benefit from consulting a qualified criminal defense attorney. These professionals can provide additional information for those accused of possession of marijuana and drug trafficking, for example. Criminal defendants’ rights should be protected during their legal proceedings; an attorney may be able to make sure that those rights are respected.

Source: Charlotte Observer, “Prosecutors: Head of drug trafficking conspiracy moved tons of marijuana through North Carolina” Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Jan. 22, 2014