The FBI recently announced it has arrested 11 individuals they claim are members of a Yonkers gang for alleged narcotics and weapons charges. According to an FBI press release, the 11 individuals are accused of being members of the Two Gunz Up gang from Riverdale Avenue. Authorities further allege a long-term investigation, spanning from 2006 to October 2013, discovered the individuals were conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and marijuana. Eight of the 11 individuals who were arrested were also charged with possessing and discharging firearms.
Drug charges, especially those dealing with trafficking, are taken very seriously in New York. The penalties for such offenses can thus be very harsh. In the above mentioned case, for example, the accused individuals facing charges for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine may receive life in prison. While that is the maximum punishment, this charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Additionally, a drug conviction may carry severe fines, affect an individual's ability to work, and it may have negative immigration consequences.
Since drug charges are taken so seriously and can ruin an individual's life, it is important to find a defense attorney who can help. No matter the situation, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to find flaws in a prosecution's case that can aid in a defense. For example, prosecutors often rely on physical evidence, but if that evidence is illegally obtained, then it may be suppressed. A competent defense attorney can analyze the case to determine whether such illegalities are present.
Even if evidence was gathered legally, an attorney may be able to help a defendant negotiate for lesser charges. While the decision to do so is entirely up to the accused individual, these negotiations can often lead to drastically lessened prison sentences or, in some instance, no prison time at all. No matter how a defendant feels about negotiating with a prosecutor, it is a real option that can be discussed confidentially and fully with a defense attorney.
No matter if one is accused of Possession with intent to sell, Drug possession, or any other drug charge, the stakes are high. It would be a mistake to forego an experienced, knowledgeable attorney when crafting a defense. He or she could be the most powerful ally on an accused individual's side, fighting until the very end for the defendant's legal rights and freedom.
Source: The FBI, "Eleven Members of Yonkers Gang Charged in White Plains Federal Court with Narcotics Trafficking and Firearms Offenses," Nov. 6, 2013