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Serious penalties for UNC student charged with drug trafficking

Marijuana is "decriminalized" to a certain extent in North Carolina, but do not let this fool you. Police put hundreds of hours and dollars into efforts to stop and punish those who possess or distribute marijuana illegally. This means that they want to see results from their efforts. When people are arrested for trafficking marijuana and other drug charges, there is a chance their freedom is in jeopardy.

Recently, a UNC Charlotte student was sentenced for his role in a drug ring that was distributing marijuana throughout North Carolina. He is the final member of the alleged ring to be sentenced. Because the judge in this case decided that the network of distribution was very sophisticated and used banks and the postal service to promote the scheme, the sentence would be significant.

The 40-year-old man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for leading the marijuana trafficking group. His main accomplice was also sentenced to 10 years in prison. There is little doubt that the police officers and investigators involved in apprehending the men were pleased with the very lengthy sentences.

Five other people were also charged, convicted and sentenced for minor roles in the so-called conspiracy. This is a good reminder that even playing a small role in a trafficking ring can put a person at risk for serious penalties.

A person who is being charged with marijuana-related crimes may not always face this severe a penalty. However, it sounds as though the manpower and resources used in dismantling the group was significant. The efforts to secure evidence and testimonies were great as well. Therefore, authorities may have been more aggressive in their pursuit for a serious punishment. Although rare, these heavy-handed sentences can happen. This is why it may be very important to secure legal support when a person believes he or she may be under investigation for a drug crime.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "UNCC student busted for leading $1 million drug ring," Gary L. Wright, April 27, 2012

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