Articles Posted in Controlled Substances and Narcotics

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New York City owes much of its energy and excellence to the foreign citizens living and working here. Unfortunately, a visa or green card holder's right to remain in the United States can be seriously jeopardized by a Desk Appearance Ticket, even when the charges are comparatively minor misdemeanors. Many visa holders fail to take these arrests sufficiently seriously because the charges seem minor (like marijuana or subway fare theft) or because the arresting officer tells them "it's no big deal." Truthfully, though, career, educational, and family plans can be completely devastated by even a minor case of walking through the subway gate without paying, so it is absolutely critical that a foreign person arrested and issued a Desk Appearance Ticket retain competent counsel immediately.

In many ways, a Desk Appearance Ticket does not feel like such a big deal. The arrested person is usually handcuffed and taken to a police station where they are fingerprinted. They typically wait a few hours in a holding cell until they are given a piece of paper telling them the date and location of their appearance in court. Before Desk Appearance Tickets became routine, criminal defendants could expect to get "sent downtown" and spend the night in jail before seeing a judge. Obviously, Desk Appearance Tickets are preferable for criminal defendants because they spend less time in custody and also have the opportunity to choose counsel for themselves prior to going to court.

Make no mistake, however: the issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket is in fact an arrest – it is not "just a ticket". More importantly for visa holders, this event is not going to "fly under the radar" with the immigration agencies. If you were arrested and given a Desk Appearance Ticket, your fingerprints and the arrest charges have been sent to a New York state agency (the Division of Criminal Justice Services) and to the FBI, which maintains a federal nationwide law enforcement database of all arrest events across the United States (the Interstate Identification Index). Visa and green card holders should understand that the immigration agencies, in processing visa renewal requests, access this database to investigate whether the visa applicant has an arrest record. Indeed, some visa holders actually receive emails from Department of Homeland Security (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) agents after their arrests, because the agency was notified of the arrest via the fingerprint database.

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After over a year of zealous fighting on behalf of his client in Manhattan State Supreme Court, Eric Arnone secured dismissal on charges of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third and Fourth Degree, and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, in favor of a client who was accused of committing these serious felonies at the age of eighteen. The charges stemmed from an incident in which members of the NYPD executed a search warrant at an apartment he was staying in. If convicted, the young client faced fifteen years in state prison. Instead, he will avoid jail time as a result of the aggessive defense which established his innocence of the now dismissed indicted charges. As a result, the client's record will remain clear, paving the way for him to pursue his dream of serving in one of the branches of the United States military.

If you or a loved one are wrongfully accused of any offense, contact the experienced attorneys at Galuzzo & Arnone LLP – they have a proven track record of success and will fight just as agressively for you.

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Foreign citizens and drug importation charges at JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia Airports (federal controlled substance crimes)

American demand for illegal drugs, combined with harsh federal and state laws prohibiting their sale and possession, has created a black market that can be extraordinarily lucrative for illegal drug traffickers. Enticed by the potential to make significant amounts of money very quickly, many foreign citizens make the mistake of attempting to import controlled substances into the United States through New York City’s international airports (JFK and Newark, and to a lesser extent, LaGuardia). Those individuals caught in the act of importing narcotics typically face federal criminal charges like 21 U.S.C. § 952 (importing controlled substances) or 21 U.S.C. § 841 (possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute). Indeed, one study concluded that approximately 75% of those individuals sentenced for federal drug convictions in 2014 were illegal immigrants or foreign citizens.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/illegal-immigrants-responsible-for-almost-three-fourths-of-federal-drug-possession-sentences-in-2014/article/2567814

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G&A's client, 34 years old with no criminal record, was arrested for possessing over 4 ounces of heroin and charged with "A2" drug possession, possession with intent to sell, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree. Client was a non-citizen and faced 10 years in prison plus possible deportation.

Result: All charges dismissed entirely after G&A attorney Eric Arnone successfully demonstrated defendant's innocence to the New York County District Attorney's Office.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a serious controlled substance felony, you should strongly consider contacting the experiened criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP. Their team of former prosecutors includes Eric Arnone, the primary attorney on this matter that achieved this outstanding result for a G&A client.

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February 5, 2014: Federal agents and NYPD arrest dozens of members of purported illegal Oxycodone trafficking ring involving Astramed clinics.

The New York Post today reported that on February 5, federal agents and the NYPD arrested approximately 24 people in connection with indictments for conspiring to traffic illegal prescription drugs. Specifically, it is alleged that numerous doctors – at least some associated with the Astramed physicians' clinic in the Bronx – wrote prescriptions for Oxycodone for people that they knew did not need them or intend to use them, and that these individuals then filled these prescriptions and gave the pills to traffickers for resale. All in all, it is alleged by the prosecutors that over a half billion dollars worth of illegal Oxycodone was purchased and trafficked into the black market in this fashion.

It may be that many of the individuals involved in this operation were in legitimate need of prescription medication and in fact committed no crimes, and it remains to be seen whether the doctors that wrote the prescriptions actually knew that they were furthering a criminal enterprise instead of simply writing prescriptions that they believed were medically necessary. Interestingly, under federal conspiracy laws, the individuals that obtained the phony prescriptions from the purportedly corrupt doctors could be charged with the same crimes as the doctors that knowingly wrote the false prescriptions or the drug dealers that ultimately resold the illegal pills, though they are likely to be able to receive shorter jail sentences for having played smaller roles in the operation.

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Our client came to us a few months ago after having already been indicted for a Class A felony drug possession charge. However, we were able to persuade prosecutors to dismiss all of the charges against him. Our client – who had been facing a substantial jail sentence if convicted – will not have any criminal record whatsoever as a result of this arrest, and is understandably ecstatic.

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The most serious drug-related felonies in New York state law are Operating as a Major Trafficker (Penal Law Section 220.77, the "Kingpin" Statute), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (Penal Law Section 220.21) and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (Penal Law Section 220.43). As Class-A1 felonies, they are punishable by a minimum of 8 years in state prison for first-time offenders, and by as many as 20 years. (Unfortunately, people charged with these crimes are ineligible for Judicial Diversion- the program whereby drug offenders are given an opportunity to attend a drug rehabilitation treatment program instead of prison.)

For more on the "Kingpin" statute, or Operating as a Major Trafficker (Penal Law Section 220.77), click here.

A person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses: