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When does drug possession become trafficking?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2021 | Firm News |

Drug trafficking charges can include making, transporting, selling or even simply possessing a controlled substance. In Georgia, this felony offense carries a minimum of one to five years in prison for the first offense. 

Review the factors that can result in charges for drug trafficking. 

Evidence of intent to distribute

Possession indicates that the person had the drug for personal use only. Trafficking indicates that he or she planned to distribute the substance. 

To prove drug trafficking, the prosecution may look for evidence of intent to distribute. Examples include business records, significant cash on hand, advertising materials and packaging supplies. 

Witness and law enforcement accounts

The case may include statements from witnesses who say they purchased drugs from the defendant or knew he or she sold drugs. Police testimony establishing an active drug trafficking operation would also fall into this category. 

Controlled substance amounts

Federal drug trafficking charges may result depending on the amount of the drug in question. Generally, the threshold for this type of prosecution involves at least: 

  • 1 g LSD 
  • 5 g methamphetamine 
  • 10 g PCP 
  • 40 g fentanyl 
  • 100 g heroin 
  • 500 g cocaine 

Georgia follows the federal mandatory minimum charges for drug trafficking when prosecuting this crime at the state level. However, an offender may receive federal charges for trafficking large amounts of controlled substances, operating an extremely profitable operation, transporting drugs across state lines, laundering money as part of a drug operation, or committing prescription or Medicare fraud along with trafficking. Cases involving the injury or death of another person also result in more severe legal penalties.