The crackdown on meth labs in the US has made a difference, but only a small dent in the larger problem. Today, massive amounts of methamphetamine are smuggled into the US and more people than ever are using the drugs.
33 pounds is a hefty amount of synthetic marijuana. Hefty enough, in fact, that the Durham Police Department said it was a record amount for the city, as the News Observer reports, meaning that a 36-year-old man now faces what the News Observer characterizes as the "highest-level trafficking charges possible" for synthetic marijuana.
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.
Chances are you may know someone who's been swept into a recent drug trafficking bust in Lancaster County. Sixty-one people have been charged with 177 offenses related to drug distribution in the county off of I-77, just south of Charlotte and the North Carolina border. Among the charges are trafficking in marijuana, trafficking in cocaine, distributing marijuana and cocaine and weapons offenses.
A federal indictment charges at least nine members of an alleged drug ring of conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine in western North Carolina. At least three more individuals are wanted in connection with the meth ring.
Drug trafficking crimes will trigger mandatory minimum sentences at both the state and federal level. Possession of a deadly weapon - like a gun - during the commission of a drug crime is considered an aggravating factor that will mean more time in prison upon conviction. Under federal law, it doesn't matter if you actually fire the gun during a drug crime or if you aide and abet the firing of the gun, you will be punished the same if found guilty of possessing a gun during the commission of a drug offense.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed a shift in policy at the Department of Justice - U.S. Attorneys would no longer be pursuing drug crimes that would trigger mandatory minimum sentences if:
Charlotte and the surrounding communities have been designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) meaning that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are targeting this area a as a hotbed for drug trafficking activity both in North Carolina and outside the state. The easy accessibility provided by the major interstate systems that connect Charlotte to Atlanta, GA; Columbia, SC; and other major cities within North Carolina itself make this a hotspot for illegal drug distribution.
Last year, David Trawick was arrested for cooking meth near his Marshville home. This year, Trawick is in jail again, along with his wife and two other women after sheriff's deputies reportedly uncovered another meth cooking operation, this time inside Trawick's home. Trawick is the less famous, but possibly more infamous, brother of country singer Randy Travis.
Three spent shells in the front yard and at least one call reporting gun shots fired led to the third arrest of a North Carolina teen this week. Eighteen-year-old Brandon Rumple of Kannapolis now faces is third drug crimes case; two are still pending.