Los Angeles Drug Smuggling Attorney

Illegal drugs are not always manufactured, distributed, and sold within the same state or country. Many illegal substances are cultivated or manufactured all over the world, and then individuals and cartels smuggle the drugs over national borders and across state lines. They use hidden and illicit means to get the drugs from one country to another. The drug trade is an international production. If you are allegedly caught participating in it, you will likely face drug smuggling charges and need the help of a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney.

Are you facing charges for a drug smuggling offense in California? If so, contact a drug attorney from Spolin Law P.C. right away. We will thoroughly investigate the claims against you, review your legal options, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 or through our online form to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.

California Drug Smuggling Charges

Smuggling means to move drugs into or out of a country illegally. The substances are moved through secret or illicit means, and not through common shipping and transportation methods. For instance, instead of shipping boxes of drugs, a cartel may send a box of stuffed animals containing baggies of an illegal substance.

Under California law, smuggling encompasses several drug trafficking charges, including:

Smuggling Narcotics

California Health & Safety Code (HSC) 11352 outlines narcotics trafficking. If you transport, import, sell, furnish, administer, or give away controlled substances formerly classified as narcotics, or you offer/attempt to do so, then you may be imprisoned for three, four, or five years if you’re convicted. If you are accused of moving the drugs from one California county to another (and these counties do not share a border), then you face a prison sentence of up to three, six, or nine years.

For help in avoiding a lengthy prison sentence for smuggling narcotic drugs, contact a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney from Spolin Law P.C. today.

Smuggling Non-Narcotic Drugs

HSC 11379 states that if you do any of the following with a substance that is a Schedule III, IV, or V drug that is not a narcotic, you face a prison sentence of two, three, or four years:

  • Transport, import into the state, sell, furnish, administer, or give away
  • Offer to transport, import into this state, sell, furnish, or give away
  • Attempt to import or transport any controlled substance into the state


However, if you transport a controlled substance in California from one county to another non-contiguous county, then you face three, six, or nine years in prison.

If you are accused of smuggling any controlled substances into the country or state, you should invoke your right to remain silent and then contact a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney at our firm today. Your best chance of obtaining a fair outcome to your case is by protecting yourself as soon as possible.

Smuggling Marijuana

California has made recreational and medical marijuana lawful for adults over the age of 21. However, the marijuana industry is highly-regulated to ensure it remains lawful and safe. The state does not allow individuals to bring in marijuana from other nations or states without being properly licensed. Under HSC 11360, if you transport, import, sell, furnish, administer, or give away cannabis in California, or offer/attempt to do so, then you can be charged with an infraction or misdemeanor offense, depending on your age and the amount of the drug in your possession.

If you are over the age of 18 and this is a first-time offense, you face up to six months in jail, and $500 in fines. However, if you are older than 18 years, you can be charged with a felony if you:

  • Have two or more previous marijuana trafficking convictions
  • You trafficked or attempted to traffic more than 28.5 grams of cannabis or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis
  • You sold, gave, or distributed marijuana to a minor
  • You were previously convicted of a serious, violent, or sex crime felony

When charged with a felony for trafficking marijuana, you face a potential prison sentence of two, three, or four years.

It can be easy to view marijuana as no big deal. However, California and federal authorities are always on the lookout for unlawful marijuana cultivation, production, transportation, and sales. Despite California’s liberal attitude toward the drug and many state’s evolving laws, marijuana can still be illegal. If you have been arrested and charged with a marijuana crime, contact a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney right away.

Federal Drug Smuggling Charges

You may face federal charges if you are accused of bringing controlled substances into the U.S. from another country, such as meth from Mexico, cocaine from South America, or heroin from the Middle East. You may also face federal drug trafficking charges if you took illegal drugs across state borders.

You can be charged with a crime under 21 U.S Code § 841, as it states that it is a violation of the law if you knowingly or intentionally:

  • Manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance
  • Create, distribute, dispense, or possess with the intent to distribute or dispense a counterfeit substance (such as a prescription drug)

Federal sentencing for drug crimes is complicated. The sentence you face depends on the type and amount of drug in your possession, your criminal history, and whether there were aggravating or mitigating factors in your case. Smuggling typically involves large quantities of controlled substances or counterfeit prescription medications, which can lead to lengthy prison sentences and high fines. A Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney can help you understand the potential statutory penalties you face if you’re facing charges for a crime related to drug smuggling.

For each type of drug, the federal government has multiple sentencing tiers by weight, and each tier has a minimum and maximum penalty. The harshest punishments are reserved for eight Schedule I and II drugs, which are frequently trafficked in high quantities. These substances are heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

If the amount of the substance meets the threshold amounts below, then you face a minimum of 10 years in prison:

  • Heroin – one kilogram
  • Powder cocaine – five kilograms
  • Crack cocaine – 280 grams
  • PCP – 100 grams
  • LSD – 10 grams
  • Fentanyl – 400 grams
  • Methamphetamine – 50 grams
  • Marijuana – 1,000 kilograms

If you have a previous felony drug conviction or this offense lead to another person being seriously injured or killed, then you face a minimum of 20 years in prison for drug trafficking. If you have a previous felony drug conviction and the current offense resulted in another person’s serious bodily injury or death, or if you have two or more prior felony drug convictions, then you will be sentenced to life in prison.

When you are charged with federal drug trafficking charges, you need to know what you are up against. You should contact a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the charges, understand the potential penalties, and discuss your defense options.

Defending Against Drug Smuggling Charges

It is frightening to face serious drug charges for smuggling and trafficking, yet an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. is not intimidated by felony charges, potential harsh penalties, or aggressive prosecutors. We will thoroughly investigate the charges against you and utilize the strongest defenses in your case.

Depending on the circumstances, we may employ the use of the following defenses:

  • You lacked the necessary knowledge and intent to commit the crime.
  • You lacked actual or constructive possession of the drugs.
  • These are false accusations.
  • There has been a mistake of identity.
  • You were coerced or forced to participate in the drug trafficking scheme.
  • Law enforcement officers entrapped you.
  • The prosecution illegally obtained evidence through an unconstitutional search or seizure.
  • The prosecution is utilizing flawed, contaminated, or fabricated evidence.

Contact a Los Angeles Drug Smuggling Attorney for Help Today

When you are accused of smuggling drugs into the country or across state borders, your first thought should be to hire a lawyer. Now is not the time to handle the situation yourself. The police and prosecutors are looking for every piece of evidence possible to help them prove you are guilty and put you behind bars. By hiring a Los Angeles drug smuggling attorney, you potentially limit the evidence the prosecutors may obtain, and you reduce the risk of saying something that could use to incriminate you in court.

To speak with a lawyer about your legal options and how to fight for the best possible outcome in your case, call Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816, or contact us through our online form to request a free case consultation.