A North Carolina man has received a shocking life prison sentence for his participation in a large drug trafficking ring that led to large amounts of marijuana being distributed in the Charlotte area. The man, age 34, was charged with federal crimes including money laundering and conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The man and two co-defendants were convicted in October after a short trial.
Official reports show that the man helped ship the marijuana throughout the Charlotte area in crates and overnight delivery boxes. Federal prosecutors say they believe that 35 tons of marijuana were shipped from the man's native state, California, to the Charlotte area. The defendants were accused of sending money back to the California suppliers. News reports show that the defendant in this case received a federal life sentence because he had two prior felony drug convictions in the state of California. It is important to note that federal sentences do not have the possibility for parole.
In total, nearly six dozen defendants have been convicted for their role in the marijuana trafficking case. Many of those individuals have also been convicted of money laundering and weapons violations because of the massive investigation. This man's other two co-defendants are still awaiting their sentencing hearings, according to authorities.
Life sentences for drug trafficking are fortunately relatively rare. This man was only sentenced to such a harsh punishment because of his prior violations and the sheer volume of marijuana he reportedly distributed. Federal defendants who are facing such significant allegations may need to employ different criminal defense strategies than those who are accused of first-time violations.
Source: Charlotte Observer, "Man sentenced in Charlotte for trafficking tons of marijuana" Steve Lyttle, Jun. 19, 2014