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Philadelphia, PA 19102

215.665.1695

Federal Drug Trafficking

One of the more significant roles the federal government plays in the “War on Drugs” is going after the commerce of the drug trade. The government seeks to cut off the supply, to attack the cartels. Federal trafficking prosecution will be relentless and aggressive and the consequences are very severe. If charged, it’s important to have someone on your side to match the government tenacity and skill.

Philadelphia Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer

If you’re charged with federal drug trafficking charges, an experienced Philadelphia federal drug trafficking lawyer can make the difference between walking away free and having a mandatory minimum prison sentence. The criminal defense attorneys at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC are aggressive and practice often in federal courts. We will provide zealous advocacy for you. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 for a free consultation.

We are based in Philadelphia and represent those facing federal charges throughout the area, including in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks County. We also represent those charges in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and anywhere in the contiguous United States.


Defining Trafficking Charges for Pennsylvania Federal Courts

The Federal Controlled Substances Act bans even the possession of the substances it lists without prescription or other legal justification. It also bans, and sets harsher penalties to knowingly engage in any of the following actions with controlled substances:

  • Manufacture
  • Distribute (Sell)
  • Dispense
  • Possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense

It’s also illegal, and carries the same charge, to be involved in a conspiracy or organization that does any of the following. If you are accused of driving a vehicle that contains 1,000 hits of LSD to carry them from a manufacturer to a distributer, for example, you could face the same charges.

As the quantity you are accused of possessing goes up, the harsher the penalties are. Larger quantities are commonly referred to as “trafficking.”


Mandatory Minimums for Drug Trafficking Charges

Federal law sets very specific penalties for different levels of drug possession, and it often depends on the drugs. Many have mandatory minimum penalties, meaning you are guaranteed a certain amount of prison time if convicted. Some drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, have penalties of their own.

Others depend on the “schedule” the narcotic falls under. The Controlled Substances Act lists multiple schedules, which are lists of drugs. Every controlled substance falls into one of these schedules. Schedule I has the worse penalties, Schedule V has the most lax.

In the following chart, for the amount in the first column of the drug, a first offense carries at least five years in prison with 40 year maximum and up to a $5 million fine for an individual and a $25 million fine for a group. For a second offense, penalties, a minimum of 10 years, up to life, with fines up to $8 million for an individual and $50 million for a group.

For the second column, the minimum is 10 years, up to life, with up to a $10 million for an individual and $50 million for a group. For a second offense, it’s 20 years minimum with up to life, up to a $20 million fine for individuals and $75 million for a group. Any subsequent offense means life in prison and a fine up to $20 million for an individual and $75 million for a group.

Type of Controlled SubstanceAmount for a 5-Year Prison MinimumAmount for a 10-Year Prison Minimum
Cocaine 500 - 4,999 grams 5 kilograms or more
Cocaine Base 28 - 279 grams 280 grams or more
Heroin 100 - 999 grams 1 kilogram or more
LSD (Acid) 1- 9 grams 10 grams or more
Marijuana 100 to 999 kilograms or plants More than 1,000 kilograms or plants
Methamphetamine (Meth) 5 - 49 grams pure, or 50 - 499 grams mixture More than 50 grams pure or 500 grams mixture
PCP 10 - 99 grams pure or 100 - 999 grams mixture More than 100 grams pure or 1 kilogram mixture
Fentanyl Analogue 10 - 99 grams 100 grams or more
Fentanyl 40 - 399 grams 400 grams or more

These are only the trafficking drugs that carry minimum penalties. Any drug will carry serious penalties if convicted of distribution or manufacturing. If serious bodily injury was involved in any of the convictions for any Schedule I or Schedule II drug, you will face life imprisonment.

For many trafficking charges, the primary evidence for the prosecution is the drug itself. Your defense lawyer can file motions to suppress the evidence for any mistake that the police made in procedure while conducting a search to find the evidence. Without the critical evidence, the prosecution’s case may not have a leg to stand on.


Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC | Philadelphia Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Attorney

If you or a loved one has been arrested on federal drug trafficking charges, you can count on prosecutors being very aggressive. Hire a Philly federal drug trafficking lawyer who will be even more aggressive to be on your side. We are fighters at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC, and we’ll fight for you. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to schedule a consultation.

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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers