blog home Illegal Trafficking What Laws Are Involved in Smuggling Drugs Across the Border?

What Laws Are Involved in Smuggling Drugs Across the Border?

By San Diego Attorney on July 31, 2017

In the United States, smuggling is the act of transporting illegal goods over a U.S. border. People do this with many different items, for two main reasons. Sometimes they do not want to pay the exchange that would be required. But in the case of drugs, they want to escape the notice and punishment from authorities. Smuggling is a very complicated crime in the United States, involving many different agencies and holding different consequences. No matter what is being smuggled, or how, it is considered a federal crime.

The Laws

The law that deals with smuggling in the United States is in U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 27. It states that any individual that knowingly and willingly smuggles merchandise into the country that he/she should have been billed for, or that was illegal, can be prosecuted for up to 20 years in prison. The only evidence that is needed by the authorities in order to charge someone for smuggling is that he/she is in actual possession of the smuggled item at the time of arrest.

Because this section of the U.S. Code only deals with the actual smuggling of goods, those caught trying to smuggle drugs into the country will likely face a number of other charges under the nation’s drug laws. Those could include drug possession, the possession of drugs for sale, and possibly even being under the influence if they are thought to be using the drugs at the time of the arrest. When an individual is not carrying or smuggling a particular illegal drug, but still has paraphernalia on him, he could still be charged with possession.

The Penalties

Due to the fact that smuggling is a federal crime, there are many federal agencies involved when smuggling charges are pressed. These include the U.S. Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Customs Service, and the U.S. Border Control.

Sentences for smuggling charges can be anywhere from 26 to 43 years, meaning a person could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty of smuggling drugs into the United States. Sentences are based on a point system and points will be added depending on the actual item being smuggled, the individual’s criminal history, and if injury or death occurred as a result of the item being smuggled.

Smuggling is a crime in the United States, and it is one that is taken very seriously. If you have been charged with smuggling drugs into the country, it is time to start fighting for your life, and JD Law can help. Founding attorney James N. Dicks is a board-certified criminal defense specialist and a former narcotics investigator with the LAPD. He knows the system, and he can review your case and may be able to get your sentence reduced or dismissed altogether. Call him today at (760) 630-2000. There really is no time to waste.

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