09 Aug What Is Considered to Be Drug Trafficking in Arizona?
Because of the 370-mile border we share with Mexico, drug trafficking in Arizona is not uncommon. In 2018, the United States Sentencing Commission reported Arizona as one of the top five areas for drug trafficking offenders in the country, followed by other border regions in Texas and Southern California.
Because of the millions of pounds of illegal substances that are transported into Arizona each year, drug trafficking is a very serious offense. It carries harsh punishments, with years of prison time. Let’s take a closer look at Arizona’s drug trafficking laws and how they work.
What Exactly Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking laws cover all types of drugs, including prescription drugs that you are not legally allowed to provide, illegal drugs, and dangerous drugs. The term “drug trafficking” encompasses every act involved in the illegal sale of drugs, including:
- Growing and/or manufacturing drugs
- Transporting drugs
- Importing drugs from another country
- Having drugs in your possession with the intention to sell
- Owning equipment necessary to make drugs
- Selling drugs
What Is the Punishment for Drug Trafficking in Arizona?
There are four separate laws for drug trafficking in Arizona, all of which have potential felony-level penalties. These four laws cover different types of drugs—marijuana, prescription drugs, dangerous drugs, and narcotics.
ARS 13-3405: Marijuana Drug Trafficking
Arizona statute ARS 13-3405 covers the drug trafficking of marijuana. This law makes it illegal to:
- Possess or use marijuana
- Hold the drug for sale
- Produce marijuana
- Move marijuana with the intention to sell it
For guilty verdicts, the amount of marijuana involved determines the penalty level. For example, having less than two pounds of marijuana that you intend to sell when arrested leads to a class 4 felony. However, intending to sell more than four pounds of marijuana is a class 2 felony.
ARS 13-3406: Prescription Drug Trafficking
Under Arizona law ARS 13-3406, a person can be charged with a felony for selling prescription drugs illegally. For example, anyone who is not a licensed pharmacist is unable to legally make or sell prescription drugs.
Potential penalties under ARS 13-3406 range from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 4 felony, depending on the level of crime committed. For example, possessing a prescription-only drug for sale results in greater penalties than illegally manufacturing a prescription-only drug.
ARS 13-3407: Dangerous Drug Trafficking
Arizona statute ARS 13-3407 says it is illegal for a person to make, use, possess to sell, or transport for selling a dangerous drug. A person found guilty of possessing a dangerous drug with the intention of selling it to others, transporting it for sale, or producing the drug could face a class 2 felony.
There are about 200 different drugs considered to be dangerous under Arizona law, including:
ARS 13-3408: Narcotic Drug Trafficking
Under ARS 13-3408, a person possessing a narcotic drug with the intention to sell it may face a class 2 felony if found guilty. They can also face class 2 felony charges for transporting a narcotic drug to sell it or illegally manufacturing the drug.
Narcotic drugs—also known as opioids—include the following:
Understanding Drug Trafficking in Arizona
There is no doubt that drug trafficking is a major crime in Arizona. All drug trafficking violations carry harsh penalties, including prison time. And, because the majority of punishments for drug trafficking crimes are felonies, convicts will be stuck with criminal records that affect their lives for many years to come.
If you face charges of drug trafficking in Arizona, you need a certified criminal law specialist like Todd Coolidge in your corner. With 25 years of practice in Arizona, Todd knows the ins and outs of our state’s drug laws and can help secure the best outcome for your case. Call our offices in Phoenix at 602-795-0770 or in Chandler at 480-264-5111 to make an appointment today.
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