Pennsylvania federal, state and county prosecutors vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals involved in the delivery, manufacture or wide-scale trafficking of controlled substances. A person convicted of delivering, manufacturing or possessing with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance can face years in prison, significant court costs and fines and potential forfeiture of their home and other personal assets.
Consequences of a Drug Delivery Conviction
Drug delivery to a minor, near a school or conducted with a weapon will often result in more severe penalties. Pennsylvania state and local prosecutors will often seek to transfer drug trafficking cases to federal court, where the potential prison sentence, fines and restitution will be much more severe. It is important to have a knowledgeable drug defense attorney on your side if you are charged with the trafficking, delivery or manufacturing of an illegal drug or controlled substance.
I have over a decade of experience providing skilled and aggressive representation to individuals facing charges involving the delivery, trafficking or manufacturing of controlled substances in Bucks County, Montgomery County and the surrounding counties. Contact me at (215) 752-5282 for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response. Appointments are available after business hours and on weekends.
Pennsylvania’s Drug Trafficking Laws
Under 35 P.S. § 780-113(30), Pennsylvania makes it illegal to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance by a person not registered under the Controlled Substance, Drug Device and Cosmetic Act. It is also unlawful in Pennsylvania for a practitioner not licensed by the appropriate state board to knowingly create, deliver or possess with intent to deliver a counterfeit controlled substance.
The Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof
In a trial involving the delivery, manufacture or the possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove the actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance by the accused. The prosecutor must also establish that the accused delivered, intended to deliver or manufactured the controlled substance. To achieve a conviction, the prosecutor must prove these legal elements to a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Delivery of a Controlled Substance
Cases involving the delivery of a controlled substance include the actual, constructive or attempted transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another. The person receiving the controlled substance may be a known individual, undercover police officer or a confidential informant.
Use of Confidential Informants in Drug Delivery Cases
The majority of drug delivery cases filed by the police involve the use of a confidential informant. In most drug delivery investigations, confidential informants actively work with the police to gather evidence against a street-level drug supplier. Confidential informants will often participate in a “controlled buy” of drugs from a suspected drug supplier.
In a controlled buy, the drug transaction between the confidential informant and the suspected drug supplier takes place under the supervision and surveillance of the police. Confidential informants frequently agree to work with the police in exchange for the withdrawal of criminal charges or other favorable treatment by the prosecutor.
Types of Controlled Buys
Buy-Bust Controlled Sale of Drugs
An undercover police officer or confidential informant may participate in a controlled purchase of drugs in a “buy-bust” operation. In a buy-bust operation, the police will arrest the suspected drug seller once the transfer of the controlled substance has taken place.
Buy-Walk Controlled Sale of Drugs
The police will use an undercover police officer or confidential informant in a “buy-walk” controlled sale of illegal drugs. In a buy-walk operation, the suspected drug seller is not immediately arrested at the conclusion of the drug transaction. The police may choose to delay the arrest of the suspected drug seller to further the development of the investigation or to protect the identity of the confidential informant. I have extensive experience defending individuals charged with delivery of a controlled substance involving the use of a controlled buy.
Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
Drug manufacturing charges generally involve the actual growing, cultivation or manufacturing of a controlled substance for sale or distribution. Common examples include marijuana “grow houses,” methamphetamine (meth) laboratories or “drug houses” used to process crack cocaine. The possession of marijuana plants, indoor grow lighting, hydroponic materials and special fertilizers can lead to charges of marijuana manufacturing. The possession of methamphetamine crystalline powder, household chemicals, pseudoephedrine and ephedrine will often lead to charges of methamphetamine manufacturing.
Prosecution of Drug Manufacturing Cases
Federal, state and local prosecutors aggressively investigate and prosecute cases involving the manufacturing or cultivation of illegal drugs as an effort to remove the source point for illegal drug activity in a community. The government will often present expert testimony at trial to establish that the drugs and other evidence found in the residence or other structure was consistent with an illegal drug manufacturing or cultivation operation. I have successfully defended many individuals who have been falsely accused of manufacturing or cultivating a controlled substance for sale or distribution.
Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance
Individuals charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance are often found with large amounts of illegal drugs and contraband on their person or in their residence. The prosecutor is not required to prove that the accused conducted an actual transfer, sale or delivery of the controlled substance to achieve a conviction under the law.
The Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof in a Possession with Intent to Deliver Case
To gain a conviction for possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance, the prosecutor will present evidence of the recovery of a significant amount of a controlled substance from the accused along with other evidence that the drugs were intended for sale, delivery or manufacture. That evidence may include large amounts of cash, packaging materials, digital measuring scales and mixing devices recovered from the residence of the accused.
To meet their burden of proof at trial, the prosecutor will often call an expert witness, usually a detective, to testify that the drugs and contraband seized by the police was consistent with the delivery, sale or manufacture of drugs and inconsistent with the personal use of the drugs. I am highly experienced in the defense of cases involving the charge of possession with the intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance.
Federal Prosecution of Drug Trafficking Crimes
Federal drug prosecutors have almost unlimited resources to aggressively pursue drug trafficking and manufacturing crimes. The United States Attorney and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) focus primarily on cases involving large scale illegal drug activity crossing state lines and the importation, manufacture or transportation of large quantities of controlled substances into the United States. Federal authorities also focus on drug trafficking crimes involving sophisticated criminal enterprises including gangs and other organized crime groups.
Consequences of a Federal Drug Trafficking Charge
Being charged with a federal drug trafficking crime can put you in serious legal jeopardy. Federal drug trafficking charges carry more significant penalties than state drug charges. Individuals convicted of drug trafficking offenses in federal court will often face harsh mandatory minimum sentences and strict sentencing enhancements.
Trusted Trial Experience in Complex Drug Trafficking Cases
I am extremely knowledgeable about state and federal drug laws. I also have extensive experience representing individuals in complex drug trafficking cases, including those involving interstate transfer of controlled substances, state and federal wiretaps, and confidential informants. Contact me immediately if you have received a federal target letter or if you are under federal indictment for drug trafficking offenses. I will use my experience and knowledge to protect your rights and your freedom.
Penalties for Drug Delivery, Sales and Manufacturing under Pennsylvania State Law
The penalties for delivery, sale or manufacture of a controlled substance will depend in part on your prior criminal history and on the type and quantity of drug involved.
- For a Schedule I or II drug (e.g., heroin), it is classified as a felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
- For phencyclidines (PCP), methamphetamines, cocaine and its derivatives or marijuana in excess of 1,000 pounds, it is classified as a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
- For other Schedule I, II or III drugs not listed above, it is classified as a felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- For a Schedule IV drug, it is classified as a felony and is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
- For a Schedule V drug, it is classified as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
- For possession of a small amount of marijuana (30 grams or less) with intent to distribute or the distribution of a small amount of marijuana without receiving any payment, it is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Start with a Strong Defense
If you have been charged with the delivery, manufacture or the possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance in Bucks County, Montgomery County or the surrounding counties, it is critical that you act quickly to protect your rights and build the strongest possible defense against the charges. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day at (215) 752-5282. Contact me for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response.