FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-01-23
In early January 2013, a Charleston man was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for federal drug and gun crimes. The sentence, which followed concerted effort by several law enforcement agencies, demonstrates how officials are increasingly working together to target these types of crimes, and how the penalties following a federal criminal conviction can be severe.
Alleged gang leader sentenced to prison
After many years of investigation, the alleged leader of a Charleston, South Carolina, gang, as well as 15 other defendants, was accused of 45 criminal offenses, according to WCSC news. The individuals were accused of selling several kilograms of crack cocaine and more than a kilogram of heroin to undercover officers and others on the East Side of Charleston.
All of the individuals were eventually convicted, with sentences imposed ranging from a minimum of five years to the alleged leader’s 27-year sentence. The alleged leader had 18 prior convictions; four of them were drug offenses and five were felonies, which likely contributed to his longer sentence.
Court documents showed that police first raided a home allegedly used by the group in May 2009, when they found a gun, marijuana, crack cocaine and alleged drug paraphernalia. In August 2009, police raided a second home where officers found three guns, marijuana, heroin and other allegedly drug-related items. Police officers also testified that the alleged gang leader sold heroin to undercover officers from October 2009 to April 2010.
The depth of this investigation reveals the special attention law enforcement agencies are paying to federal drug and gun crimes. In this case, the City of Charleston Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration worked together to target certain activity.
Federal criminal charges can cover a variety of alleged offenses. Some federal drug charges include:
- Drug possession
- Drug sale
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug trafficking
When combined with federal gun charges, the consequences of a conviction can be harsh, including possible fines and prison time. Federal gun charges may include:
- Illegal purchase or sale of a firearm
- Gun possession by an individual with a felony conviction
- Gun possession during the commission of a felony
- Gun trafficking
When accused of a drug, gun, federal or state crime, it is important to present a strong defense as early in the case as possible. If you have been accused of a crime or are under investigation in South Carolina, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to defend your case.