Federal authorities have charged 12 individuals with alleged conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, seven of those individuals had been arrested on December 10th. Three others are claimed to be fugitives.
The arrest is said to be a part of a multi-agency investigation. These agencies would have included DEA, ATF, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and a number of local and county law departments.
It is claimed that the defendants that the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute began during the summer months of 2012. This supposedly involved more than 50 grams of methamphetamine or more than 500 grams of a substance containing detectable amounts of methamphetamine. The drug conspiracy purportedly took place primarily in three North Carolina counties.
A conviction for drug charges such as this could result in severe penalties. All 12 defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison – the maximum sentence involving a life sentence. The defendants could also be ordered to pay a $10 million fine.
Possibly in no other area of law do clients require able attorneys to represent them than when charged with a crime. And when it comes to a conspiracy, great care must be taken to prevent individuals from being wrongfully convicted. Individuals may be coerced into pleading guilty when faced with such punishments. Also, other members arrested may be convinced to testify against others in return for a more lenient sentence.
We need to keep in mind that it still remains up to prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officers to prove that such a conspiracy actually took place. Evidence introduced at trial must be reliable and relevant to the matter at hand.