How Drug Smuggling Affects Immigration
Immigration is one of the most hotly debated issues in the United States.
According to the federal government, in 2008 there were about 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. About 75% came from Mexico. By the end of that year, California had about 3 million undocumented residents living in the state.
In the beginning of the 21st century, there was a wave of attempted immigration into the United States. On average, about 500,000 would-be immigrants were arrested every single year at the border. 2007 alone saw 850,000 people trying to enter the country illegally. Still, the federal government estimates that only 10% to 20% of those trying to enter illegally are arrested.
Not all immigrants, legal or otherwise, are trying to smuggle drugs into the country. Many come because of job opportunities, education opportunities, or because they already have family living here. And those immigrants often land in San Diego because of our close proximity to the border.
If you are caught with drugs coming across the border, it can be especially dangerous for you. Call a lawyer right away to protect yourself.
Penalties for Drug Smuggling
Drug smuggling is a federal crime. Like all federal crimes, the penalties are severe: as long as 26 to 43 years in prison for those convicted. You could spend the rest of your life in a federal prison.
At the very least, if someone is found trying to smuggle drugs into the United States, he could be banned from entering the country at any time in the future. That could be particularly difficult for people who have family on this side of the border, and want to make any trips to see them.
To charge someone with drug smuggling, there is only one thing that law enforcement has to be able to prove – that there were drugs on a person, in his vehicle, or otherwise in his possession while he tried to cross the border. This means that someone carrying a small amount of drugs that may be legal in some states, such as marijuana, could have drug smuggling charges filed against him.
Of course, smuggling is only one charge you might face. Charges for drug possession and the sale or distribution of drugs could be added on top of that. That means the penalties will be even worse – time added to a prison sentence, steep fines that bankrupt you.
Not everyone charged with drug smuggling will face the same penalties. These sentences work on a point-based system. Points will be added if the drug being smuggled is considered especially dangerous, if the individual being charged has a criminal history, and if there were any injuries or deaths that occurred as a result of the drug smuggling. Drug smuggling is not the safest activity, so this sentence enhancement is applied in many cases.
You Need the Help of an Attorney
If you are charged with drug smuggling, you face serious consequences. It may seem like a hopeless situation. But it does not have to be if you hire an experienced San Diego drug crimes attorney.
An experienced lawyer – like former LAPD narcotics investigator James N. Dicks, founding attorney of JD Law – can fight the charges and build you a strong defense. JD Law can help anyone accused of drug smuggling in the San Diego area. We do not want you or a loved one to spend the rest of your life in prison. For a free consultation with a tough, experienced lawyer, call (760) 630-2000. Se habla español.