James K. Minick

James K. Minick

The Federal felony offense of drug trafficking or manufacturing involves the growing or producing of illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. After production, these drugs are distributed and sold across state lines for a profit. Due to the fact that this involves committing a crime across state lines, drug trafficking or manufacturing are Federal offenses that are punishable by multi-year prison sentences and large fines.

To deal with these offenses, the Federal criminal system employs mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. This system works by imposing a minimum and maximum range of time and fines that a Judge must charge a person with, given a certain offense. Although many state drug offenses replicate the Federal mandatory minimum system, the Federal sentencing penalties are generally more severe.

The punishments for trafficking or manufacturing vary significantly depending on a variety of factors. Generally, the sentencing guidelines focus on the guilty party’s criminal drug record and the quantity of drugs to determine the length of their sentence and amount of their fine. To see the various sentencing structures for drug trafficking or manufacturing, refer to 21 U.S.C. § 841.

Trafficking or manufacturing charges can also sometimes be tacked on to a simple possession charge if the police believe that you intended to sell any of the drugs in your possession. This is generally seen when an individual is in possession of a large amount of drugs or money at the time of arrest.


The elements of drug trafficking or manufacturing are:

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally:

  1. Manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess
  2. With intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense
  3. A controlled substance

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally:

  1. Create, distribute, dispense, or possess
  2. With intent to distribute or dispense
  3. A counterfeit substance

In order to obtain a conviction for either of these charges, the prosecution must show that the accused is guilty of each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Any person who is convicted of either of these offenses will also be incarcerated in a Federal prison, as opposed to a state prison.

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