With airport security cracking down on everything in recent years, it is not an easy task to sneak contraband into the country. Two airline passengers recently found this to be true while returning from the Dominican Republic to an airport in Newark.
Between the two passengers, 6 kilograms of cocaine was discovered during routine baggage screening. The cocaine was separated into approximately 3 kilograms and sewn inside two separate neck pillows.
The two passengers brought the neck pillows onto the flight as carry-on items. They were both arrested.
One passenger admitted he had agreed to transport the cocaine for a hefty sum of about $10,000. He also claimed to not know the other passenger.
The second passenger originally echoed that sentiment, saying she did not know the first passenger. Federal agents were able to dispute that claim after discovering photos of the two together on her phone during a lawful search.
The pair of drug smugglers were then detained without bail after a hearing in federal court.
New Jersey cocaine laws are tough to begin with, but they are toughest on drug traffickers.
Drug trafficking laws are meant to penalize the selling, transportation and illegal import of unlawful controlled substances, i.e. cocaine. It is a felony and is a more serious crime than just possession.
While both federal and state laws will come into play, each state has its own set of drug laws.
When it comes to possession in New Jersey, simple possession of cocaine is a third-degree offense and can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. If that possession of cocaine is in a school zone, public housing project or public park the charge will carry additional penalties like no less than 100 hours of community service.
If an individual is found in possession of less than one-half ounce of cocaine with the intent to distribute it is considered a third-degree crime, which can carry a fine of up to $75,000. It becomes a second-degree crime if you are found in possession of more than one-half ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine. This is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
If the amount is more than five ounces with intent to distribute then it is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of up to 20 years.
When it comes to drug trafficking, the punishment will vary based on factors like type and amount of drugs, geographic area of distribution and whether children were targeted.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges or any charges related to drug crimes it is paramount you find a criminal defense lawyer. In New Jersey, the Law Office of Stephen R. Piper has the experience and know how to swiftly handle drug crimes litigation. Call 856-351-5335 or fill out our convenient online contact form for a consultation today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.