Experienced Federal Trafficking Charges Attorneys in North Carolina

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, we know what it takes to fight drug, weapons and human trafficking charges. Not only is it important to understand the charges you are facing; it is critical to know the penalties you may face. Learn more about these serious charges – and how we can help you stand up against them – below.

What Is A Trafficking Charge?

“Trafficking” refers to the illegal sale or distribution of contraband such as guns, explosives and illegal drugs. It can also refer to human trafficking – that is, buying, selling or trading people, often for purposes of sexual exploitation.

Learn more about federal trafficking charges:

Common Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

A person implicated in a drug trafficking crime may face multiple charges: possession, manufacture, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy, to name a few. These charges center on the illegal distribution, delivery, and importation of controlled substances.

Illegal drugs commonly involved in trafficking cases include:

  • Cocaine (powdered and crack)
  • Marijuana (which is still a controlled substance under both federal law and North Carolina law)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroine
  • Ecstasy
  • Oxycodone and other prescription drugs.

How Are Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Defined?

Federal drug offenses – including trafficking and trafficking-related charges – are outlined in the Controlled Substances Act:

  • Drug trafficking refers to the improper transfer of controlled substances (illegal drugs), whether “actual, constructive or attempted.”
  • Conspiracy to traffic drugs refers to an agreement between at least two people to violate federal drug laws.
  • Possession with intent to distribute typically involves evidence of intent beyond mere personal use – for example, the presence of scales or ledgers, a history of drug trafficking, or possession of a large quantity.

When Do Drug Trafficking Charges Have Serious Consequences?

All drug trafficking charges have the potential for harsh penalties. These charges are felonies, which means they can land you behind bars for years or even decades in federal prison.

If convicted of felony drug charges, offenders face mandatory minimum sentences, meaning the federal sentencing guidelines establish automatic prison time. These mandatory minimum penalties often mean years in prison. For example, convictions for Class D and Class F felonies related to drug trafficking can result in imprisonment for 7 to 18 years.

The sentence imposed in each case depends on factors such as:

  • The type and number of charges you face
  • The type of controlled substance involved
  • The number of illegal drugs involved
  • The presence of a firearm
  • The connection of drug trafficking with allegations of violent crime
  • Prior criminal convictions
  • Other mitigating (or aggravating) factors

The consequences of drug trafficking are also so significant because multiple charges are often involved. A full-fledged federal investigation may result in complex multicount cases involving not only federal drug offenses but also money laundering, gun charges, conspiracy charges, and the like.

How Are Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Different From State Charges?

North Carolina also criminalizes drug trafficking under laws similar to the federal Controlled Substances Act. Generally speaking, however, the potential consequences of federal drug charges are more severe than state-level charges. And unlike state drug crimes, federal drug investigations are handled by agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

These agencies have vast resources at their disposal to conduct large-scale investigations. In addition, while state investigators are limited within North Carolina borders, the federal government can conduct investigations across state lines.

What Is A Federal Weapons Trafficking Charge?

Firearms are highly regulated under federal law. Most federal gun charges, however, involve illegal possession of a firearm.

Weapons trafficking charges typically involve buying, selling, or distributing firearms (including explosives and certain ammunition) without a license. Trafficking charges may also arise when a person straw-purchases or transfers a firearm from the legal owner to somebody else

Federal weapons trafficking charges (and related gun charges) are often accompanied by federal drug trafficking charges. It is not uncommon for drug traffickers to use firearms during their operations.

What Are The Penalties For Illegal Weapons Trafficking?

Like drug trafficking charges, federal weapons charges can result in steep penalties, including federal prison time. The sentence will depend:

  • The type of charge
  • The type of gun
  • How the gun was used
  • The defendant’s criminal history

For some federal weapons charges, the statutory maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

How Are Federal Human Trafficking Charges Defined?

Federal law defines human trafficking broadly. It’s a crime not only to buy and sell a person (whether for sexual or labor purposes), but also to recruit, harbor, transport, solicit, patronize or provide such a person. Both sex trafficking and labor trafficking can give rise to serious criminal charges. Defendants often face decades in federal prison if convicted.

Aggressive Defense Against Federal Trafficking Charges

Federal trafficking charges demand a strong and experienced defense. No matter your situation – whether you’ve already been charged or are under investigation – get our attorneys on your side as soon as possible.

Our lawyers have decades of combined experience standing up to law enforcement and prosecutors. We’ve had numerous successes in serious felony cases, including getting charges dropped and prison sentences reduced.*

Why choose us to battle your federal drug trafficking charges? Our attorneys are no strangers to federal court. We know how to stand up for your rights and freedoms in these serious cases.

Key Indicators You Are Under Federal Investigation

You may not even realize that you are being investigated for a federal trafficking crime. What seems like an innocent encounter with law enforcement can land you in prison – especially if you start talking without an attorney present.

Signs you are under federal investigation include:

  • Being contacted by federal agents from the FBI, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), DEA, or other federal law enforcement agency
  • Being served a search warrant or subpoena for records
  • Receiving a target letter from a federal prosecutor requesting a meeting
  • Learning that your friends, family members, and associates are being interviewed by law enforcement

If you believe you are being investigated by federal agents, please call our office at 919-838-6643 to learn your options. NOW is the time to start building a strong defense.

Have You Been Indicted On A Federal Trafficking Charge?

If you have been indicted following an investigation, it is of the utmost importance that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

federal indictment, in its simplest terms, means that you are being charged with a federal crime. Indictments are brought when a grand jury has evaluated the facts of your case and determined that there is probable cause to bring charges against you.

Two of your most important rights are the right to a lawyer and the right to remain silent – and you should exercise both. We can help you determine the best course forward. As skilled negotiators and staunch defenders, we can stand by you through all stages of the proceeding, fighting for your rights each step of the way.

Take Immediate Action After An Arrest

If you have been arrested and charged with federal drug, weapons, or trafficking violations, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Mandatory minimum sentences and other serious penalties can threaten your entire future. Protecting your rights from day one with a knowledgeable legal advocate is key.

Keep in mind that not every defense attorney is admitted to practice in federal courts (or has experience handling these complex charges). At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, fighting against the federal government is our area of focus. We know how to handle these tough, high-stakes cases.

How Can You Defend Yourself Against Federal Trafficking Charges?

You may have multiple avenues for fighting the charges. For example, depending on your situation, we may be able to argue that:

  • Law enforcement violated your rights during the investigation
  • The search and seizure that yielded key evidence was unconstitutional
  • You were not in possession of a firearm or illegal drugs
  • You didn’t have the level of knowledge or intent that a conviction requires

Of course, in every case, reasonable doubt plays a big role. Our lawyers understand how to effectively raise doubts – whether before trial, in an attempt to get the charges dropped or reduced, or during the trial, in order to sway the jury toward acquittal.

Don’t Face Trafficking Charges Alone

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, our lawyers know how to defend against trafficking charges of any kind. We can evaluate your situation and develop a personalized case strategy geared toward the best possible outcome.

For a free consultation, call 919-838-6643 or reach out to us via email. We handle criminal cases in federal courts across North Carolina.

U.S. vs. J.R.
Charge: Mail Fraud (9 Counts), Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud
Facing: Three years in prison
Result: One year, One day

Our client was convicted of nine counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The government alleged that our client fraudulently obtained more than $115,000 from her former employer. At the sentencing hearing, the Judge granted our motion for a downward departure, sentencing our client to one year and one day. The government had asked the judge to sentence our client to several years.