Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to U.S. Federal Drug Crimes
A 40-year-old man from Bowie, Maryland pleaded guilty to federal charges for several drug crimes and bribery of a government official, according to a press release by the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland.
The investigation of this incident traces back to August 2018. That is when federal officials from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began probing allegations of cocaine distribution in Maryland involving use of the postal system.
Federal authorities were able to identify the Maryland man as the ringleader of this drug trafficking operation. After his arrest, the Maryland man admitted to various aspects of this drug trafficking scheme. Of particular note, the Maryland man bribed several postal service workers to divert certain packages that included cocaine.
As a result of a plea deal, the Maryland man pleaded guilty to the following U.S. federal criminal charges:
- Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; and
- Bribery of a government official.
U.S. Federal Laws Against Drug Distribution
21 U.S. Code § 841 provides the federal laws against drug distribution. Under this section, it is unlawful for any person to distribute, dispense, or manufacture a controlled substance. It is also illegal for any person to possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, dispense, manufacture.
Any person who violates Section 841 is guilty of a federal crime. Though the applicable punishment can change based on various factors, including the type and amount of controlled substance in question. Using cocaine as an example, distribution or possession with intent to distribute:
- Less than 500 grams — Is typically punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and $1 million in criminal fines;
- 500 grams or more — Is typically punishable by five to 40 years in prison and up to $5 million in criminal fines; or
- 5 kilograms or more — Is typically punishable by 10 years to life in prison and up to $10 million in criminal fines.
On a related note, 21 U.S. Code § 846 clarifies that any conspiracy or attempt to commit these crimes is treated in the same way as a completed crime.
U.S. Federal Laws Against Bribery of Public Officials
18 U.S. Code § 201 furnishes the federal laws against bribery of public officials. Under this section, it is unlawful for any person to give, offer, or promise anything of value, directly or indirectly, to a public official or someone selected to be a public official.
More specifically, the bribe in question must be given, offered, or promised with the intent to:
- Influence any official act, such as legislation;
- Influence the commission or attempted commission of any federal fraud offense; or
- Induce any action or omission that would violate the official’s lawful duties.
Any person who violates Section 201 is guilty of a federal crime. If convicted, the punishment can include imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years and criminal fines up to three times the amount of the bribe in question.
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If you need legal assistance with drug crimes or other charges under U.S. federal or state law, the Bel Air criminal attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered can help. Reach out to us today for a consultation.