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Federal Authorities Arrest 14 Cartel Members on Drugs Offenses in Texas

By Peek & Toland on January 17, 2018

The border areas of Texas are frequented by the big drug cartels from Mexico. Recently, federal and state law enforcement agencies in El Paso, Texas arrested 14 alleged members of a trafficking organization for drug offenses in Texas.

The operation picked up members of the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization, including ringleader Mario Armando Orrantia, reported Fox News.

The arrests for drug offenses in Texas took place in June 2017. The suspects were hit with drug trafficking charges, stated U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin and Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso office.

Cartel members are arrested on drugs offenses in Texas

Drugs offenses in Texas – cartel members are arrested

Police announced they seized large amounts of drugs during the operation. They seized about five kilograms of cocaine, 600 kilograms of marijuana, almost $140,000 in cash and seven vehicles, reported Fox.

Glaspy said in a statement:

 “DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners severely disrupted the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization operating here in El Paso.”

In the summer, a grand jury indicted 12 of the suspects on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Five of the suspects were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Seven were hit with charges of substantive drug possession with intent to distribute, 10 people with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one of the suspects on bulk cash smuggling.

Glaspy said the organization was disguising its alleged criminal activity under the cloak of being a legitimate business and threatening the safety of local communities.

He said the Drug Enforcement Agency, along with its partners in law enforcement partners are committed to bringing to justice people who import and distribute illegal drugs in communities.

The organization was accused of pumping hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana into the El Paso area. The DEA said the drugs were then transported to locations across the United States including Colorado, Ohio, and South Carolina. Investigators said the organization was making money from the drugs and laundering it, according to investigators.

The suspects were being held in federal custody. All but two of them face at least 10 years to life in prison, reported Fox News.

Drug trafficking is dealt with at a federal level. People charged with this crime typically face heavy sentences.

Whether you have been caught with a just a pounds of marijuana, or large amounts of cocaine you can be charged with trafficking if the authorities believe it was not merely for your personal use.

You can find out more about drug trafficking on our website.  If you require the services of an experienced Texas drug trafficking lawyer, you should contact our Austin attorneys.

Contact us here or call us today for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Texas

By Peek & Toland on March 2, 2017

The mere fact that you are caught with illegal drugs does not mean you are automatically guilty of an offense. Texas has important defenses to drug possession.

To convict you of drug possession, a prosecutor must prove you knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled drug. The drug must be one you did not have a valid medical prescription for.

In Texas, drugs fall into five classifications. You can be charged with a first-degree felony for possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, LSD or Ecstasy. This means you can be jailed for up to life in prison for possession of these drugs. See our Austin drug defense lawyers page for more details.

Defenses to drug possession

Drug possession has many defenses

Marijuana possession falls under a different classification. Drug possession is taken very seriously in Texas. Although traffickers are usually dealt with more seriously, you should not assume you will end up on probation for possession of drugs.

There are important defenses to drug possession in Texas that can allow you to fight these serious charges

Main Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Texas

  • You lacked control over the drug. An example might be if you were traveling in another person’s car that was found to contain drugs or someone handed you a bag containing cocaine and you were unaware of its contents. For possession to be illegal, it must be voluntary.
  • The drug had an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;  or
  • It was approved for investigational use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the defendant’s conduct was consistent with that exemption.
  • You were in possession of a drug that was not intended for human consumption.
  • The drug was a prescribed medication from a licensed doctor
  • A drug was of an insufficient quantity to make the arrest valid.
  • The drug was recovered under an unlawful search or seizure.

It’s not always simple to convince a jury that you have a valid defense to drug possession. It’s important to hire an experienced Texas drug defense lawyer to make the case for you.

Most drug offenses in Texas are listed under the Texas Penal Code and The Texas Controlled Substances Act. These are not straightforward statutes to interpret or to understand how they are applied in Texas.

While crimes such as drug trafficking and distribution are likely to be prosecuted in the federal courts, potentially leading to higher sentences, the federal authorities get involved in possession offenses too.

Possession of an illegal substance, the quantity found in your possession, and your purpose for having the drugs all come into play when authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you on a federal or state level.

In these cases, federal mandates will impose a minimum sentence that will often mean a convicted individual will face a lengthy prison stay.

The type of drug in your possession, the quantity, and your purpose for having the drugs are all relevant when the authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you at a federal or state level.

If you have been charged with drug possession or any other drug offense, you should act quickly and hire an Austin drug offenses defense lawyer. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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Man is Charged with Drug Trafficking After $90,000 Cocaine Bust in Austin

By Peek & Toland on December 16, 2016

Drug trafficking is a serious offense that often leads to a federal prosecution. The trade in drugs like heroin and cocaine is enforced diligently by the authorities.

In September, Austin made headlines when officers allegedly seized cocaine worth $90,000, reported the Statesman.

The report stated investigators with the Criminal Interdiction Unit seized the cocaine during a traffic stop on Sept. 25.

The police identified the 37-year-old driver as Pedro Garcia. He gave them permission to search his Ford pickup.  A police sniffer dog confirmed the possible existence of narcotics in the vehicle.

drug trafficking arrest in Austin

Police made a cocaine bust in Austin

Police officers said they noticed “anomalies” on the front end differential of the pickup. The Ford was taken to a mechanic shop for further inspection. Police said they found four packages wrapped in tape inside the pickup. They alleged the packages contained three kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of around $90.000.

Garcia was subsequently booked into Travis County Jail. He was charged with drug trafficking charges and was due to be transferred into federal custody, according to investigators.

Drug trafficking is a serious offense. Our Austin drug offense criminal defense lawyers have a long track record in helping people charged with this crime.

While drug possession may be dealt with by the state, drug trafficking charges pit the weight of the federal system against you. We often see young people who are just setting out in life and have no criminal record, facing a minimum of ten years in federal prison for drug trafficking.

Drug Trafficking and Federal Versus State Crimes

There has long been a longstanding federal strategy to fight drug abuse and the distribution of many controlled substances. In the 1980s, a high profile zero tolerance approach was pursued in relation to drugs.

At the same time, every state has its own drug laws. Typically, federal charges are for trafficking and distribution, while most state drug offenses are for possession.

Although federal punishments are usually harsher, there are a number of other factors that can influence your sentence, namely:

  • The type of drug involved and the quantity.
  • Where you were apprehended by police. If you smuggled drugs into the country or were handing them out near a school, the penalties are tougher
  • Your criminal history.

If you have been charged with drug trafficking, it’s important to contact and hire an experienced Austin drug defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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