The final season of “Breaking Bad” may have ended, but police interest in busting methamphetamine manufacturing operations in Alabama has far from waned.
Our Jefferson County drug crime defense attorneys are well aware of a spate of such arrests made throughout the Northern Alabama region in recent months. Undercover sting operations organized to shut down these efforts show no signs of slowing.
The state takes such charges very seriously. In some cases, those accused of manufacturing or selling meth face harsher penalties than do those convicted of violent crimes.
Per Alabama Code 13A-12-231, any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers or beings into the state 28 grams or more of methamphetamine is guilty of trafficking in illegal drugs, which is a felony. A person with between 28 and 500 grams will receive a minimum 3-year prison term and be required to pay a fine of up to $50,000. Someone caught with between 500 grams and a kilo will face a minimum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $100,000. A person with between 1 and 10 kilos will face a minimum mandatory term of 15 years in prison, with the requirement to pay a $200,000 fine. If you are caught with anything more than 10 kilos, you are facing a mandatory term of life imprisonment.
The thing to remember is that a skilled defense attorney has the ability to raise a variety of effective defenses in these cases. A lot of times, authorities may be quick to carry out a bust, but they fail to address all the important details. For example, they may initiate a stop without reasonable suspicion or search your vehicle without your consent, probable cause or a warrant. They may fail to read you your Miranda rights if you're under arrest, interrogate you with coercion or violence of fail to honor your requests for an attorney. Any one of these can be grounds to have key evidence in the case suppressed.
Among some of the more recent Alabama methamphetamine manufacturing cases to receive media coverage:
- A 44-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were arrested in Mobile on charges of first-degree manufacture of a controlled substance, trafficking in methamphetamine and felony possession of drug paraphernalia after authorities say they were making the drug in a hotel room. Authorities were initially called to the room because of an odd smell. The operation was described as “inactive.”
- In Pelham, three officers and a K-9 unit were treated for exposure to harmful chemicals after they reportedly responded to a call of suspicious activity and discovered a methamphetamine lab in a hotel room. It wasn't immediately clear whether arrests were made at the time of the raid.
- In Cullman, authorities responding to a report of a stolen vehicle reportedly discovered an active methamphetamine laboratory inside a home. As a result, seven people were arrested, all charged with unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance. Two of the defendants are additionally facing charges of forgery and theft of property.
- In Mobile County, three men were arrested on methamphetamine manufacturing, trafficking and possession charges, as well as one count of chemical endangerment of a child, after authorities investigating a stolen vehicle approached a home to talk to the resident and noted a strong chemical odor from inside. Authorities say the men were making methamphetamine inside the home, where a 16-year-old lived.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Birmingham, contact Drug Crime Defense Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.