Charges of drug crimes and conspiracy are taken very seriously by prosecutors and can cost an individual their freedom. However, anyone accused of trafficking or smuggling drugs in New York has the constitutional right to defend their innocence from the state’s accusations.

Recently, federal prosecutors have charged four men for the smuggling of illegal drugs from Mexico and Colombia into the United States. The men were charged with drug trafficking and with the possession of weapons. One of the men, who was allegedly the head of a Colombian drug cartel, was accused of smuggling weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades into the United States, in addition to conspiring to traffic cocaine. Two of the men charged allegedly came from a Mexican drug group, and they were accused of conspiring to import cocaine and methamphetamines. The fourth man was Colombian, and was charged with conspiring to transport cocaine to the United States aboard an American-registered aircraft. The charges were the result of a three-year investigation into international drug crimes.

Drug trafficking involves the transportation of drugs from one location to another for sale. Drug rings typically hire middlemen to transport the drugs across state or national lines, and the money from the sale is then sent back to the drug smuggling ring. Drug trafficking is prosecuted at the federal level, and penalties vary in their severity based on the size and scope of the operation, the type of drug trafficked, the geographic area of distribution and whether or not minors were targeted for sale.

Anyone accused of drug trafficking or another drug-related offense is entitled to a vigorous criminal defense and a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants in such cases have the legal right to question witnesses, challenge the admissibility of evidence and dispute the constitutionality of the drug charges. An attorney can help those charged with drug crimes understand their rights.

Source: ABC News, “NY Prosecutors Charge 4 in international drug case,” Oct. 18, 2013.