A New York man labeled as a “marijuana kingpin” has been charged with five felonies by Manhattan prosecutors. The man allegedly ran a million-dollar marijuana smuggling ring that smuggled tons of marijuana from Florida and California into New York. The man and three other members of the smuggling ring were originally arrested in October 2010 on drug charges as part of a federal takedown known as Operation Green Venom. Prosecutors charged the alleged kingpin with the murder of five men while overseeing the drug ring. They also charged him with five attempted murders, as well as obstruction of justice, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Defendants charged with drug crimes face stiff penalties. Drug offenses are not prosecuted lightly, and a drug conviction can result in large fines and long prison sentences. This can have severe consequences in many aspects of a defendant’s life, including their employment or immigration prospects. A drug conviction can ruin a person’s livelihood and reputation.

Fortunately, a person charged with a drug offense has the right to a criminal defense attorney. The defense has the right to question the state’s witnesses and the constitutionality of the proceedings against them. They also have the right to question the constitutionality of the arrest and the search and seizure of evidence by the police, as well as the admissibility of the evidence presented by the state.

Exercising any of these rights can get the charges against a defendant reduced or thrown out entirely by the judge. Because a defendant has the right to competent legal defense, they need not let their reputation or livelihood be ruined

Source: Huffington Post, “Manuel Rodriguez-Perez, Accused New York City Weed Kingpin, Charged with Five Murders,” Anna Sanders, Aug. 22, 2012