On May 31, a 41-year-old Woodland, California man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute illicit drugs. The incident occurred a full year earlier in Nampa, Idaho, where the man was pulled over for a traffic violation. During the stop, police discovered nearly four pounds of methamphetamine in his car.
This was not the man's first possession with intent to distribute charge. He has a significant criminal history in multiple states, including domestic violence, grand theft, and assault. The man pleaded guilty to the methamphetamine charges earlier this February.
Possession With Intent to Distribute
Depending on the severity of the offense, drug crimes can be prosecuted at the state or federal level. The defendant will usually see their case tried federally if they have trafficked the drugs over state lines, possess a large amount of drugs, or intend to distribute a large amount.
First-time offenders generally face punishments of up to five years for possession with intent to distribute. Subsequent charges are enhanced, which is likely why the Woodland, California man received a longer sentence.
Charged With Drug Possession
Possession can be a surprisingly difficult charge for prosecutors to prove. It is not enough to be in close proximity to the drugs. There must be evidence that the defendant was knowingly and personally carrying the drugs. The intention to distribute is a somewhat subjective charge that can involve expert witnesses to analyze the drug's quantity and packaging to determine if distribution was probable.
The fact that the methamphetamine was found in the California man's car while driving alone did not help his cause. This, coupled with his criminal history, could have prompted him and his attorney to plead guilty. When the evidence is hard to diminish, a guilty plea may be the best option to avoid even longer prison time.
Regardless of the strength of the prosecutor's evidence, nobody should attempt to navigate a federal prosecution without a criminal defense attorney. The Sigal Law Group can help! Call 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.