When people sell, distribute or import illegal controlled substances, they are committing a drug trafficking offense. Criminal charges vary significantly depending on how much drugs a person carried at the time of the arrest.

However, there are severe repercussions for drug trafficking charges. It is useful to understand the laws and penalties that one may face in these situations.

What signifies a controlled substance?

The federal government has a set of classifications for all controlled substances. Classified as schedules I to V, they categorized substances from the most addictive to the least addictive. The listing also considers the medical use of each drug in the classification.

What constitutes trafficking?

When police believe that people intend to sell drugs in their possession, a drug possession charge may become a drug trafficking charge. Certain circumstances that may make that charge more likely is if the person possesses a substantial quantity of the drug at the time of the arrest.

What are potential charges?

Drug trafficking may lead to a felony charge. When charged with distributing drugs in Mississippi, the penalties vary greatly depending on the type of substance and quantity found on the person. For example, 1,000 kilograms of heroin or 5,000 kilograms of cocaine may lead to the same penalty of 10 years to life behind bars.

If a person had cocaine, the following charges may apply, based on quantity:

  • Fewer than two grams: up to eight years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • Up to 10 grams: between 3 to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine
  • Over 10 grams: 5 to 30 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine
  • Over 5000 grams: 10 years to life in prison

Generally, a sentence may be as little as three years or up to a life sentence for trafficking drugs. If a person has prior convictions or caused bodily injuring, the severity of the sentence may increase.