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Albuquerque Federal Drug Crime Lawyer

If you haven’t noticed by now, large organized drug trafficking rings will inevitably come to an end.  They often have their high points followed quickly by their very low points.  Unfortunately, as any cog in the larger drug trafficking machine, you run the risk of extended sentences, even felony convictions depending on your involvement.  If you have been charged with a federal drug offense, it is important to contact an experienced Albuquerque federal drug crime defense attorney as soon as you are able.

Federal vs. State Drug Crimes

Federal drug laws are much more severe than New Mexico drug laws and typically involve a higher level of drug charges.  Federal drug charges are brought by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  The DEA divides each range and classification of drug charges into schedules by type of drug and charges, by type of offense.

The schedules and punishment range of federal drug charges include the following, although marijuana charges are typically in their own schedule range, despite being lumped into Schedule I:

Schedule Type of Drug
I Marijuana, Heroin, LSD
II Cocaine, Methamphetamine
III Vicodin, Ketamine, Anabolic Steroids
IV Xanax, Ambien
V Cough syrup containing codeine

Each drug is different and is made up of different chemicals, with different potential side effects.  Therefore, the DEA has classified these drugs into groups which more directly relate to all other drug types in the Schedule.

Federal Penalties

Federal trafficking penalties depend largely on the amount of drugs which you are found with, as well as the Schedule the drug falls under.  The following drugs contain the same punishment range of:

  • First offense: 5-40 years; if death or serious bodily injury occurs penalty is heightened to 20 years-life in prison; Up to a $5 million fine.
  • Second offense: 10 years – life in prison; If death or serious bodily injury occurs, life imprisonment. Up to $8 million fine.
Schedule Substance Quantity
I Fentanyl Analogue 10-99 grams mixture
I Heroin 100-999 grams mixture
I LSD 1-9 grams
II Cocaine 500-4,999 grams mixture
II Cocaine base 28-279 grams mixture
II Methamphetamine 5-49 grams pure or 50-499 grams mixture
II PCP 10-99 grams pure or 100-999 grams mixture
IV Fentanyl 40-399 grams mixture

The next tier in punishment ranges involves the following offenses:

  • First offense: 10 years – life in prison; if death or serious bodily injury occurs, penalty is heightened to 20 years – life in prison. Up to $10 million fine.
  • Second offense: 20 years – life in prison; if death or serious bodily injury occurs, life imprisonment. Up to $20 million fine.
  • 2 or more prior offenses: Life imprisonment and a fine up to $20 million.

While these penalties seem severe, they are for the following drug quantities:

Schedule Substance Quantity
I Fentanyl Analogue 100 grams or more mixture
I Heroin 1 kilogram or more mixture
I LSD 10 grams or more mixture
II Methamphetamine 50 grams or more pure or 500 grams or more mixture
II PCP 100 grams or more pure or 1 kilogram or more mixture
II Cocaine 5 kilograms or more mixture
II Cocaine Base 280 kilograms or more mixture
IV Fentanyl 400 grams or more mixture

Other Schedule 1 and Schedule II substances, any drug product containing Gamma Hydroxybutyric Aciden, and 1 gram of Flunitrazepam have the following punishment ranges:

  • First offense: Up to 20 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, between 20 years in prison – life in prison. Up to $1 million fine.
  • Second offense: Up to 30 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury – life imprisonment. Fine up to $2 million.

Any amount of other Schedule III drugs have the following punishment ranges:

  • First offense: Up to 10 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, up to 15 years in prison. Up to $500,000 fine.
  • Second offense: Up to 20 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, up to 30 years in prison. Fine up to $1 million.

Any amount of all other Schedule IV drugs have the following punishment ranges:

  • First offense: Up to 5 years in prison and up to $250,000 fine.
  • Second offense: Up to 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 fine.

Any amount of all other Schedule V drugs have the following punishment ranges:

  • First offense: Up to 1 year in prison and up to $100,000 fine.
  • Second offense: Up to 20 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, up to 30 years in prison. Fine up to $1 million.

Marijuana and hashish contain the following punishment ranges based on quantity:

Amount Punishment
1,000 kilograms or more mixture or 1,000 or more marijuana plants First offense: 10 years – life in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, 20 years – life in prison. Fine up to $10 million Second offense: 20 years – life; If death or serious bodily injury, life in prison and fine up to $20 million.
100-999 kilograms or 100-999 marijuana plants First offense: 5 – 40 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, 20 years – life in prison. Fine up to $5 million.Second offense: 10 years – life in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, life in prison. Fine up to $8 million.
50-99 kilograms or 50-99 marijuana plants First offense: up to 20 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, 20 years – life in prison. Fine up to $1 million.Second offense: Up to 30 years in prison; if death or serious bodily injury, life in prison. Fine up to $2 million.
Less than 50 kilograms or 1-49 marijuana plants First offense: up to 5 years in prison. Fine up to $250,000 Second offense: Up to 10 years in prison. Fine up to $500,000

Albuquerque Federal Drug Crimes Law Firm

If you have been charged with a federal drug charge, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.  The federal drug charges are complex and contain a number of different charges and stipulations which our attorneys can help you work through and understand.  Our lawyers at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices have 22 years combined experience in handling federal drug charges and will work tirelessly to ensure we develop the best strategy for your case. Contact us today!