Posted on Mar 28, 2013 2:04pm PDT
Federal prosecutors had accused the man from Tennessee of shipping massive quantities of marijuana from Texas to Alabama.
But a Birmingham jury just wasn't buying it, and the judge declared a mistrial.
Out Birmingham drug crime defense attorneys believe this case shows that circumstantial evidence alone is not enough to win a case. Consider that this individual, who had been investigtaed by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration in three different states, was found to have $1.3 million in cash stashed in military ammunitions inside an "abandoned" vehicle on his dad's property, plus nearly two dozen guns and roughly 200 pounds of marijuana.
And yet, the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
The defendant had been indicted in the Birmingham federal court for conspiracy to possess 1,000 kilos or more of marijuana. Prosecutors believe the shipments totaled nearly 2,250 pounds each. He was also charged with seven counts of use of a communications facility (a cell phone) in order to carry out the conpsiracy.
The marijuana was allegedly sent from Texas to Birmingham and then sometimes up to Tennessee, prosecutors allege.
Aside from this individual, seven others were also indicted, including the defendant's father and stepmother, and four Birmingham-area residents.
DEA agents moved in when a shipment of some 300 pounds was expected to be moved from the Texas supplier. Investigators followed three brothers from Birmingham up to Tennessee, which was where they ultimately arrested the Tennessee defendant.
The others have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing.
That all seems like a fair amount of evidence. It's was also quite a complex scheme, according to prosecutors. But at the end of the day, it's up to prosecutors to connect all those dots. It's up to us to raise just enough doubt as to the feasibility of those allegations.
Under 21 U.S.C. 841(a), the defendant faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted on these charges. He could still, as prosecutors have indicated their intention to pursue a second trial.
The fact that this alleged scheme involved large quantities and interstate shipments and sales was likely the basis for which the case was tried in federal court. However, the majority of marijuana possession and trafficking cases are tried at the state level.
The kind of charge one faces will depend heavily on the quantity involved.
Small amounts for personal use will result in a misdemeanor charge, carrying up to one year of incarceration and and a maximum $6,000 fine. This can be bumped up to a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, if you possessed it for any purpose other than personal use or if you have previously been convicted of a marijuana offense.
When you get into trafficking or sales of the drug, you are looking at sentences that range from 3 years to 20 years.
Our attorneys will closely examine each element of your case to determine whether evidence was collected improperly, whether your statements were obtained incorrectly or if there is any other aspect that could serve to help us get evidence suppressed or charges reduced or dropped entirely.
If you have been arrested for a marijuana offense in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Drug Crime Defense Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.