Eight people in New Jersey were accused of being involved in a national drug trafficking network. Following a series of early morning raids in Atlantic City, the accused individuals made their first appearances in federal court in Camden on Dec. 11. All but one of the defendants faces drug charges for conspiracy to distribute over 280 grams of crack cocaine, over one kilogram of heroin and over five kilograms of cocaine. The other defendant was handed a single charge for money laundering.
According to reports, one of the raids led to a standoff between police and an accused 39-year-old man. When police arrived at the man's apartment on Blaine Avenue, he refused to leave the building. Police reportedly woke up the man's neighbors at 5:30 a.m. and ordered them all to leave their homes and wait outside. At 9:20 a.m., the man police were looking for was taken into custody after he came out of his apartment.
If they are convicted, the defendants who were charged for drug conspiracy face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years behind bars. The individuals could also face a potential maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. A charge for money laundering may result in a sentence of at most 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
A person who is facing drug conspiracy charges might want to hire a criminal defense attorney if they wish to avoid the maximum sentence. Because a conspiracy charge has a potential sentence of life in prison, an attorney might help a defendant to have their charge reduced to something less severe. An attorney may be able to do this by playing down the defendant's connection to the alleged criminal organization.
Source: NJ.com, "Atlantic City drug raids nab 8 on crack and heroin distribution charges", Lisa Rose, December 11, 2014