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.
The current safety valve allows judges to sentence below mandatory minimum levels for a non-violent drug crime. Bills introduced in both the House and the Senate this year would expand the use of the safety valve beyond just drug crimes and would give relief to judges and defendants facing overly-punitive mandatory sentences.
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.