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Federal Drug Conspiracy Statute

Eisenhauer Law Oct. 10, 2023

Medicinal and recreational use of marijuana may be legal in Missouri, but cannabis remains on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Though federal drug authorities don’t interfere with legal dispensaries and other authorized sales of cannabis, they are still on the lookout for those who conspire to import, manufacture, distribute, or sell controlled substances.  Conspiracy means two or more individuals get together with the intent to commit any of those illegal acts. 

If you are convicted of a federal drug conspiracy charge, the penalties can be severe, with prison time of up to 40 years or even a life term. The mandatory minimum on the most frequently cited drug conspiracy violation carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. In short, if you are being investigated for or charged with drug conspiracy under federal statutes, the consequences can be far-reaching. 

If you or a loved one is facing federal drug conspiracy charges in or around St. Louis, Missouri, contact the criminal defense team at Eisenhauer Law. Our criminal defense attorney is a Missouri native who began his legal career as a public defender and thus understands the justice system and how best to serve the firm’s clients whose liberty and futures may be at stake.  

Reach out to us immediately when facing a federal drug conspiracy charge. Let us fight for the best possible outcome. We proudly serve clients throughout the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson. 

What Is the Federal Drug Conspiracy Statute?

Federal authorities are tasked with ensuring that controlled substances are not illegally manufactured, imported, sold, or distributed. A conspiracy charge comes into the picture when two or more individuals join together to commit any of these illegal acts. They can then be charged with 21 U.S. Code Section 846, which states: 

“Any person who attempts or conspires to commit any offense defined in this subchapter shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.” 

Note that you don’t even have to commit the crime. All you have to do is have a joint agreement that could result in the commission of the crime, whether it be manufacturing, importing, distributing, or selling. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the quantity of the controlled substance, or drug, being manufactured, imported, and/or distributed is a determining factor in bringing a charge:  

“A key fact in determining whether a single drug transaction is an isolated purchase or part of a conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs is the quantity of the drugs involved in the transaction.”  

Types of Conspiracy

When it comes to conspiracy involving controlled substances, there are generally four categories under which people can be charged. Conspiracy means that two or more individuals agree to commit an illegal act. The four are: 

  • MANUFACTURING: If you conspire to manufacture illegal drugs—which can include growing, extracting, or processing—you can be charged with conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance. 

  • IMPORTING: Even if you are not involved in the actual manufacture of a controlled substance, you can be charged with importing the drug if you find a way to bring the substance into the United States from an outside source. 

  • DISTRIBUTING: No money needs to be involved to be charged with the distribution of a drug, though there may indeed be cash or other transactions involved. Any method of distribution can result in a conspiracy charge if two or more individuals are involved. This includes online pharmacies that use forged prescriptions to transmit illegal drugs to a recipient. 

  • POSSESSING WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE: Here is where the quantity of the drug being possessed can play a large role. If you are found with just enough of a controlled substance that would represent personal use for you and perhaps your friends, you likely would not be charged with intent to distribute. But if you and others were found to have a large amount, that could be interpreted as possession with intent to distribute. 

Why an Attorney’s Help Is Critical

You have rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against illegal searches and seizures and being forced to incriminate yourself. You also have a right to legal representation before authorities can question you. If you are being investigated on a possible federal drug conspiracy charge, remember the words of the Miranda Rights warning: “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” In other words, don’t answer questions until you have an attorney at your side. 

If your rights have been violated, then your attorney could potentially use that not only to challenge the prosecutor’s case, but also to get evidence dismissed—and perhaps even the case itself.  Remember also that, even if the case goes to trial and isn’t resolved in pretrial negotiations, prosecutors must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That’s a high bar. Make sure you have a skilled attorney on your side who can question and challenge the evidence and testimony being brought against you. 

Secure a Strong Defense

If you or a loved one is facing a drug conspiracy charge, the stakes are high. Lengthy prison terms can result if you’re convicted. You need to develop a strong legal defense from the very beginning, which includes not answering questions without legal representation. Contact us at Eisenhauer Law as soon as the arrest and/or investigation commences. Too much is at stake not to retain a strong criminal defense attorney. Eisenhauer Law represents clients throughout the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and the rest of the state.