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Los Angeles, California 90034
(310) 772-8404
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(800) 805-6167
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Cell Phones:
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(713) 471-5196

Drug Trafficking

Federal Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney

California Drug Trafficking Laws

Drug trafficking is defined as the illegal commercial exchange of illicit narcotics, as well as the equipment and products used to make and use the drugs. Drug trafficking laws vary from state to state, however, the severity of the drug trafficking charges filed in a particular case, along with the associated sentence (upon conviction), will vary according to:

  • The type and amount of the drug
  • Whether anyone was killed during the illicit act
  • Whether the accused has a criminal history

Serious drug trafficking charges involve:

  • Large amounts of Schedule I or II drugs (the most serious, dangerous narcotic classification that includes heroin, cocaine, PCP, etc.)
  • The death of one or more individuals during the alleged act of trafficking
  • The accused having a history of prior drug convictions violent crime convictions
  • Drug trafficking charges may be subject to mandatory minimum sentencing laws

Drug Trafficking Penalties in California – Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines

defense attorneyFederal drug trafficking cases are generally subject to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. A mandatory sentence is when the court is in a situation where judicial discretion is limited by law. Meaning, if you are found guilty of a crime, the judge must give you a certain minimum sentence regardless of whether he or she thinks that sentence is appropriate given the nature and circumstances of that crime. When it comes to drug trafficking cases, there are many federal minimum sentencing laws in place that have been passed by congress.

Generally speaking, a jury is not allowed to be told whether the case they are deciding on is subject to mandatory sentencing because it may sway their opinion if they think the punishment does not fit the crime. Instead, in a mandatory sentencing case, a jury’s role is limited only to determining guilt or innocence.

In many cases, mandatory minimum sentencing laws can lead to harsh penalties for individuals found guilty of drug trafficking. This may occur because the lack of judicial discretion means that, regardless of the unique nature of the individual’s case, a standard minimum sentence must be imposed. As a result, individuals who face federal drug trafficking charges face very high stakes. Some of the minimum sentences for drug trafficking are as follows:

If the crime involves any of the following:

  • 1 kg+ heroin
  • 5 kg+ cocaine
  • 280 g+ crack
  • 100 g+ PCP (pure) or 1 kg+ PCP (mixture)
  • 10 g+ LSD
  • 1,000 kg+ marijuana or 1,000+ marijuana plants
  • 50 g+ meth (pure) or 500 g+ meth (mixture)

Then, a first time offender who is found guilty of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute but causes no death or serious bodily injury can face up to 10 years in prison. The minimum sentence is raised to 20 years in prison if death or serious bodily injury is involved. Second and third time offenders can face life in prison.

Drug trafficking is a very serious crime. In many ways, one’s entire life may depend on a guilty or innocent verdict. That’s why you may want the best federal drug trafficking lawyer you can find by your side. David M. Dudley is an experienced, Harvard educated, federal drug trafficking defense attorney who is ready to help you. It is sometimes possible to for an experienced attorney like David M. Dudley to negotiate around mandatory minimum sentences through bargaining and other mechanisms. Call 800-805-6167 right now for a free case evaluation.

Fighting to Protect Your Rights

Attorney David M.Dudley has an almost unparalleled degree of experience as a drug-trafficking lawyer in both federal and state courts. He has represented several defendants charged under federal organized crime statutes.

He has represented numerous others accused of performing various drug-trafficking roles, ranging from the supervision of international narcotics distribution and the manufacture of many kinds of drugs to the transportation of large drug quantities and the street-level distribution of controlled substances.

Mr. Dudley has defended against serious drug trafficking charges across the country. These prosecutions have involved as much as:

  • Several hundred kilograms of cocaine
  • Trafficking marijuana (up to fifty tons)
  • Heroin trafficking (Multi-kilogram amounts)
  • Hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine
  • Gallons of PCP
  • Hundreds of LSD hits
  • Several hundred thousand ecstasy tablets

Mr. Dudley has also represented many defendants charged with possessing precursor chemicals or equipment used for drug production.

Speak With an Experienced California Drug Trafficking Lawyer

If you or a loved one is involved in a major drug-trafficking case, you will need a qualified and highly skilled drug-trafficking lawyer. Contact Mr. Dudley for a thorough evaluation of your case.

California federal drug trafficking attorney David M. Dudley has repeatedly secured acquittals, dismissals and other favorable results for drug defendants, often in the most difficult jurisdictions, with substantial evidence against them. He has extensive experience with search-and-seizure law, both federal and state, and has successfully moved for the suppression of evidence on numerous occasions.

An expert at practicing under the federal sentencing guidelines, Mr. Dudley, without significant exception, finds a way to achieve the lowest possible sentence for his clients after negotiated dispositions or pleas to the court. Mr. Dudley’s range of practice includes defending clients against prosecutions for white-collar crimes, drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime offenses.
Often in federal drug trafficking cases, the most important battle is the first one – the battle for release on bond. Although there is a presumption of detention in the majority of federal drug cases, almost all of Mr. Dudley’s clients obtain release pending trial.


More Drug Trafficking Resources

Drug-Trafficking Defense: David M. Dudley Case Results

    • U.S. v. L.C.: Defendant with multiple prior felony drug convictions arrested with several kilograms of cocaine on the table at which he was sitting when law-enforcement agents entered his hotel room. The jury found him NOT GUILTY on all charges.
    • U.S. v. C.B.: Defendant allegedly delivered several kilograms of cocaine to an undercover DEA agent. The jury found him NOT GUILTY on all charges.
    • U.S. v. L.C.: Defendant purportedly observed by police officers transporting over one kilogram of crack cocaine later seized by those officers. The jury found him NOT GUILTY on all charges.
    • U.S. v. J.C.: Defendant attempted to receive over 100 kilograms of cocaine from undercover federal agents and later charged with being a drug kingpin under 18 U.S.C. section 848. The jury found him NOT GUILTY of the kingpin charges.
    • U.S. v. J.G.: Defendant allegedly observed by federal agents in possession of several ounces of heroin. The jury found him NOT GUILTY on all charges.
    • U.S. v. F.F.: Defendant arrested at residence with over ten kilograms of cocaine in a parked car on the property. The judge DISMISSED all charges at the end of the government’s case.
    • U.S. v. T.A.: Defendant arrested leaving residence at which over 60 kilograms were seized. After a HUNG JURY, the charges were reduced and the defendant received a sentence of less than four years.
    • U.S. v. L.E.: Defendant accused of being a major participant in a nationwide marijuana trafficking conspiracy. At trial, all the defendants were convicted except for him. After a HUNG JURY, he received only several months of imprisonment.
    • U.S. v. A.G.: Defendant, owner of two liquor stores, arrested for allegedly supplying an undercover informant with pseudoephedrine and charged with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine. He was also charged with carrying a firearm during the crime. At trial, the judge DISMISSED the methamphetamine counts and the jury found him NOT GUILTY of the gun offense.
    • U.S. v. U.F.: Defendant arrested in house with large quantity of crack cocaine. During trial, the government DISMISSED the indictment and the defendant pleaded guilty to one lesser charge, receiving only several months of imprisonment.
    • U.S. v. J.L.: Defendant, previously convicted of being a drug kingpin under federal law, was charged with conspiring to purchase large quantity of cocaine. After the defense presented substantial evidence of government entrapment, the prosecution DISMISSED the indictment and the defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, receiving only three years of imprisonment.
    • U.S. v. M.G.: Defendant charged in an international conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana. Based upon information produced by the defense investigation, the government DISMISSED all drug charges and the defendant later received a term of PROBATION with no prison time.
    • People v. F.G.: Defendant arrested in a house with 300 kilograms of cocaine. At trial, the court DISMISSED the quantity enhancement. The defendant later received a sentence of four years, serving half of it.
    • People v. C.F.: Defendant arrested at his residence where police found large quantities of many drugs. The denial of his motion to suppress evidence was REVERSED on appeal and his case was subsequently DISMISSED.
    • State v. J.S.: Owner of major music company arrested in car with quantities of multiple controlled substances. Defense investigation was able to show that, in all likelihood, the police had planted those drugs in the vehicle. Consequently, the district attorney DISMISSED all charges.
    • U.S. v. R.U.: Defendant, who owned an auto repair shop, was accused of supplying a nationwide PCP manufacturing ring with chemicals. Pursuant to a pre-indictment agreement, the defendant received PROBATION with no prison time.
    • U.S. v. K.P.: Defendant accused of supervising the distribution of several hundred kilograms of cocaine in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Pursuant to a negotiated settlement, the defendant received a sentence of less than three years.
    • U.S. v. S.G.: Defendant, a well-known rapper, arrested unloading several hundred pounds of marijuana from a vehicle into his house. After pleading guilty to a marijuana conspiracy charge, the defendant received only six months of actual prison time.
    • U.S. v. P.T.: Defendant arrested transporting a large quantity of ecstacy from California to Arizona. After pleading guilty to an ecstacy conspiracy charge, the defendant received only six months of actual prison time.
    • U.S. v. C.B.: In a case which received nationwide publicity because the Nicaraguan informant had previously distributed tons of cocaine in the United States while working for the CIA, the defendant was accused of attempting to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine from that informant. After pleading guilty, over government objection, the defendant received a prison term of only six and one-half years.
    • U.S. v. G.L.: Defendant was accused of importing tens of thousands of ecstacy hits into the United States and attempting to kill the government’s key witness. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant received a prison term of only seven years.
    • U.S. v. R.L.: Defendant accused of distributing several hundred kilograms of cocaine in Nashville, Tennessee. Over government objection, the defendant was sentenced to less than five years in prison.
    • U.S. v. A.R.: Defendant accused of violating federal kingpin laws by organizing a group which distributed over 500 kilograms of cocaine in the area of Kansas City, Missouri. Via settlement negotiations, the defendant was able to plead to a lesser conspiracy charge and, over government objection, received a prison term of only eight years.
    • U.S. v. U.J.: Defendant indicted for participating in a large cocaine and marijuana trafficking conspiracy. Through a negotiated settlement, the defendant pleaded guilty to possessing over 100 kilograms of marijuana in exchange for the dismissal of the cocaine and other charges. At sentencing, he received a prison term of only eighteen months.
    • People v. J.R.: Defendant arrested for possession of 200 pounds of marijuana. Over the prosecution’s objection, the judge was persuaded to sentence him to PROBATION with no jail time.
    • People v. J.D.: Defendant arrested in possession of one kilogram of cocaine and two pounds of methamphetamine. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant received a term of PROBATION with no jail time.
    • State v. W.A.: Defendant arrested when leaving their house at which police found 12 kilograms of cocaine. Through a negotiated plea agreement, the defendant received DEFERRED ADJUDICATION with no custody time.
    • State v. F.J.: Defendant, who had multiple prior convictions for narcotics offenses and violent crimes, was arrested after police observed him in possession of two gallons of PCP. As part of a negotiated settlement, the defendant received a non-aggravated prison tem of four years, serving only one.