North Carolina vigorously pursues and prosecutes those suspected of trafficking illegal drugs within and across its borders. In order to stay on the right side of the law, it can help to understand the penalties imposed upon conviction of trafficking charges.
Even when convicted of trafficking marijuana, a drug that two states have legalized and many more are contemplating decriminalizing or have already done so, penalties are steep. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, those convicted of moving less than 50 kilos of pot or between one and 49 plants (regardless of their total weight) can wind up in jail for five years on a first offense. Their fines for individuals can be as high as a quarter of a million dollars and up to $1 million for those not considered to be individuals.
A second offense in the same category can bring a prison term of up to a decade and individual fines of a half million, with other than individual fines as high as $2 million
The penalties for trafficking the Schedule II drug cocaine are even stiffer. A first offense conviction for selling 500 - 4,999 grams carries a minimum five-year sentence, with a maximum of 40 years. If someone is killed or has a serious bodily injury resulting from the trafficking, they will be jailed for no fewer than 20 years and possibly face life in prison. First offense fines can be up to $5 million for individuals and $25 million for others.
Those same penalties are in place for those convicted of trafficking between 100 - 999 grams of heroin or one to nine grams of LSD, both Schedule I drugs with no medicinal purposes.
Those moving between five and 49 grams of pure methamphetamine or a mixture weighing between 50 - 499 grams face identical penalties in this state. The same goes for PCP trafficking if it is between 10 and 99 grams that are pure or 100 - 999 grams that are mixed with an adulterant, or "cut."
Convictions for smuggling drugs are life-altering, and being arrested on these charges is extremely serious. Invoke your right to remain silent and immediately request to speak to a North Carolina criminal defense attorney if arrested for drug trafficking.
Source: Drug Enforcement Administration, "Federal Trafficking Penalties" Jan. 05, 2015