Punishment for Buying and Selling Drugs Online
Internet drug trafficking is becoming a growing industry, in part because it is difficult to identify and apprehend the people who run drug trafficking websites. But like other kinds of drug operations, once one suspect is apprehended it can easily lead to more arrests.
In a recent case, Blake Benthall was arrested by federal agents for allegedly running the website Silk Road 2.0. According to federal agents, the Silk Road website “provided a platform for drug dealers around the world to sell a wide variety of controlled substances via the Internet.”1 Benthall is alleged to have managed the website marketplace using “Defcon” as his alias.
He was charged with four federal crimes, including narcotics trafficking (21 U.S.C. Section 841), computer hacking (18 U.S.C. Section 1030), transfer of fraudulent ID (18 U.S.C. Section 1028), and money laundering (18 U.S.C. Section 1956).
If convicted, Benthall could face fines of up to $5 million and up to 40 years in federal prison for the drug trafficking charge alone.2
Penalties for Buying Drugs Online (HS 11350)
Usually, people who buy drugs online face possession charges in the state where they live. In California, the charges you face depend upon the specific facts of your case.
For instance, some websites claim that if you fill out their questionnaire, a physician will review the form and legitimately prescribe the medication. They charge a fee for the physician to review the form and “prescribe” the drug, which they then sell you. Often times, your prescription is not valid and the drug you get could be a counterfeit medication.
An experienced criminal attorney could argue that you did not know this was illegal since the website claimed to provide a legitimate prescription by a physician. In order to be guilty of most crimes you have to have a criminal intent, and such intent is lacking if you don’t know what you are doing is illegal.3
Penalties for Selling Drugs Online (21 U.S.C. Section 841)
If you are convicted of federal drug trafficking charges, the punishment you face is harsh. Sentencing depends on how much of the substance you are charged with selling.
You could face a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in a federal prison for a first conviction of selling heroin, meth, cocaine, LSD or PCP in large quantities.
For schedule III, IV, and V narcotics, the punishment gets progressively more lenient, with the schedule V narcotics punishable by up to one year in the federal prison and a $100,000 fine.
Call Wallin & Klarich if You are Accused of Internet Drug Trafficking
If you have been accused of Internet drug trafficking, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing drug charges at both the state and federal levels.
The Wallin & Klarich criminal defense team has the skill and experience necessary to help you win your case. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich federal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/06/blake-benthall-silk-road_n_6115188.html ]↩
2. [http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/841 ]↩
3. [http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm137269.htm ]↩