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17 indicted for largest drug seizure in western New York

As a previous post discussed, mandatory minimum sentences could present harsh penalties for those accused of certain crimes. Because, in some instances, this has caused some offenders to endure serious penalties that outweigh the offense that the person was convicted of, these mandatory minimums have been modified for some lesser crimes. However, if an individual is accused of a serious drug crime, the person can still face the consequences of a harsh penalty, especially if the allegations involve a drug ring crossing state and international borders.

According to recent reports, federal authorities indicted the largest ever illegal drug seizure in western New York, charging 17 people with drug charges. Based on preliminary reports, a federal grand jury returned a 30-count indictment, which charged the 17 accused offenders with multiples narcotic offenses.

These charges occurred after federal authorities busted up an international drug ring. Presumably, this drug ring was using containers labeled as 'sea cucumbers' to send millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroine and fentanyl from California and Mexico to western New York. Officials claim that this organization has trafficked thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics throughout the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

All 17 of the defendants charges in the matter face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and face drug charges such as engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, money laundering conspiracy, distribution of crack cocaine, maintaining a drug-involved premises, felon in possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes and obstruction of justice.

No matter how severe or how simple a drug charge may appear, those accused of committing a drug crime could face consequences and penalties that could greatly impact the person's life. Therefore, it is essential to understand what criminal defense options are available to a defendant. This could help a defendant reduce or even dismiss some or all of the charges they currently face.

Source: Whec.com, "Feds bust ring that labeled drug containers as sea cucumbers," Aug. 9, 2016

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