Articles Posted in Controlled Substances

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Operating as a major trafficker – NY’s “Kingpin” statute (Penal Law Section 220.77)

A few years ago, the New York Assembly enacted into law a tough new statute designed to increase the penalties for major narcotics traffickers or managers of drug trafficking organizations. Penal Law 220.77, oftentimes referred to as New York’s “kingpin statute,” makes it a Class A-1 felony offense to

  1. act as a director of a controlled substance organization during any period of twelve months or less, during which period such controlled substance organization sells one or more controlled substances, and the proceeds collected or due from such sale or sales have a total aggregate value of seventy-five thousand dollars or more; or
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In response to a surge in seizures of methamphetamine laboratories in New York state, in 2007 the Assembly passed tough new laws outlawing the operation of facilities used to produce illegal “chemical” drugs like methamphetamine and its variants. Thus, anyone aspiring to be like Walter White on Breaking Bad faces significant penalties for their criminal behavior.

The definitions provided in Penal Law 220.62 make this charge fairly all-encompassing of any activity related to the operation of a drug laboratory. Indeed, it is not only the “manager” of the operation that can be held responsible; basically anyone and everyone that possesses or supplies materials or acts in furtherance of the operation of a laboratory can arrested and charged with the crime of Unlawful Clandestine Drug Operation in the Second Degree (Penal Law 220.63). This charge is a Class C felony. The First Degree charge (Penal Law 220.64, Class B felony) arises where there are aggravating factors, such as repeat offending, health/safety/environmental risks, the participation of a juvenile, or proximity to a school. Also, the utilization of booby traps elevates a Second-Degree charge to the First Degree.

Convictions for these charges carry potentially very significant prison sentences, so a defense must be thorough and intelligent. Typically these cases involve search warrants or wiretaps that can at least be challenged with pre-trial motions. Also, these charges often involve multiple co-defendants or conspiracy allegations, meaning that certain defendants can claim to have been wrongfully included amongst the operators of the laboratory.

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Blog – Sentencing of Federal Drug Offenders:

By Laura Monagle.

The 21 United States Code (‘USC’) Controlled Substances Act is the piece of legislation that sets out the United States Federal drug offences. This is an incredibly lengthy and complex Act, which can result in very harsh penalties, set out separately in the United States Sentencing Commission (‘USSC’) Guidelines Manual. This post will discuss the way in which Federal drug offences are sentenced.

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Federal Oxycodone Defense Lawyer discusses recent Bronx ring arrest

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

We have previously written about state-level prosecutions of illegal oxycodone and oxycontin trafficking, and have represented many individuals charged in investigations into this crime. But today, the New York Post 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.

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Craigslist crimes defense attorney explains common NYC arrests

Recently we have noticed an uptick in the number of arrests made by NYPD following investigations of advertisements on the popular website Craigslist (and to a lesser extent: the website Backpage). Though these websites can facilitate an almost limitless variety of crimes, the ones most commonly associated with these sites relate to prostitution-related services and sales of controlled substances/narcotics.

Controlled substances (Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, Penal Law Chapter 220)

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The title of this blog is “PL 220.03 Desk Appearance Tickets Explained by a Criminal Attorney.”

So…You’ve received a Desk appearance ticket which says that the “top offense charged” is “PL 220.03.” What does this mean? What will happen? Do you need a lawyer? In this blog, a criminal attorney will answer all of these questions and explain what this ticket means for you.

The “top offense” refers to the highest charge you are facing, but not necessarily the only charge (there’s only room for one charge). “PL 220.03” refers to section 220.03 of the New York Penal Law, which refers to the crime of “Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree.” (Article 220 of the Penal Law can be found here.) In New York, a person is guilty of that crime when he/she knowingly and unlawfully possess a controlled substance. So, if you’ve been issued a Desk Appearance Ticket commanding you to appear in criminal court on a particular date, what does this mean, and what can you expect to happen on that date?

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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: