A 33-year-old North Carolina man has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on drug trafficking charges after undercover officers purchased more than 100 grams of crack cocaine from him. The man was targeted for investigation on suspicion of dealing drugs by county law enforcement. The U.S. Attorney’s office also had an open investigation focused on the North Carolina man and adopted the case after the drug bust was made.
In addition to the controlled, undercover buys of crack cocaine, another 36 grams of crack was found at the man’s house. The drug busts happened in 2012; the man was already serving time in a North Carolina prison on other drug charges when the federal indictment came through in 2013. He recently pled guilty to federal charges of distributing crack cocaine in District Court.
Despite sentencing reforms instituted by the Fair Sentencing Act, punishment for crack cocaine drug crimes is still substantially more severe than for powder cocaine offenses. A first offense for possession of 28 grams or more of crack cocaine will trigger a five-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence. The same sentence will not be triggered until the quantity of powder cocaine reaches 500 grams.
The sentencing disparity represents the current 1:18 ratio of punishment for crack cocaine, as in 18 grams of powder cocaine is equal to 18 gram of crack cocaine when considering federal prison sentencing guidelines. Prior to the Fair Sentencing Act, this ratio was 1:100.
While powder cocaine is typically snorted or inhaled, crack cocaine is smoked. It is typically created by combining powder cocaine with baking soda and water.
Source: Carteret County News-Times, “Convicted drug dealer sentenced to federal prison,” February 13, 2014