Drug trafficking is one of the most serious controlled substance crimes a person can be accused of. Drug trafficking can result in either state or federal charges.

Trafficking in Drugs (Needs to be Addressed)


A drug trafficking offense usually involves a fairly significant amount of a controlled substance. Convictions for these types of crimes often carry enormous consequences, including lengthy prison sentences and huge fines.

Drug Trafficking Defense Attorneys in Columbus, OH | Sabol | Mallory

If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation for an alleged drug trafficking crime in the greater Columbus area, do not wait to seek legal representation. It will be critical for you to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side throughout the process.


Sabol | Mallory knows which weaknesses to look for in a prosecutor’s case and fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Ohio Drug Trafficking Penalties

Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03(A) establishes that a person cannot knowingly sell or offer to sell a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, or prepare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution, or distribute a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance or a controlled substance analog is intended for sale or resale by the offender or another person.


Under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.01(D), bulk amount of a controlled substance means any of the following:


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 10 grams or 25 unit doses of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule I opiate or opium derivative;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 10 grams of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of raw or gum opium;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 30 grams or 10 unit doses of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule I hallucinogen other than tetrahydrocannabinol or lysergic acid amide, or a schedule I stimulant or depressant;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 20 grams or five times the maximum daily dose in the usual dose range specified in a standard pharmaceutical reference manual of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule II opiate or opium derivative;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding five grams or 10 unit doses of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of phencyclidine;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 120 grams or 30 times the maximum daily dose in the usual dose range specified in a standard pharmaceutical reference manual of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule II stimulant or contains any amount of a schedule II depressant substance or a schedule II hallucinogenic substance;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding three grams of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule II stimulant, or any of its salts or isomers;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 120 grams or 30 times the maximum daily dose in the usual dose range specified in a standard pharmaceutical reference manual of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule III or IV substance other than an anabolic steroid or a schedule III opiate or opium derivative;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 20 grams or five times the maximum daily dose in the usual dose range specified in a standard pharmaceutical reference manual of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule III opiate or opium derivative;


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 250 milliliters or two hundred fifty grams of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule V substance; and


  • An amount equal to or exceeding 200 solid dosage units, sixteen grams, or 16 milliliters of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that is or contains any amount of a schedule III anabolic steroid.


The actual criminal penalties will depend on the controlled substance that was involved and also whether the alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile. In general, drug trafficking crimes are punishable as follows:


  • Schedule I or Schedule II — Less than bulk amount is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), the bulk amount up to less than five times the bulk amount is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), five times the bulk amount up to less than 50 times the bulk amount is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and more than 50 times the bulk amount is a first-degree felony in all cases.


  • Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V — Less than bulk amount is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), the bulk amount up to less than five times the bulk amount is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), five times the bulk amount up to less than 50 times the bulk amount is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and more than 50 times the bulk amount is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile).


  • Marijuana — Gift or less than 20 grams is a minor misdemeanor (third-degree misdemeanor when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), more than 20 grams but less than 200 grams is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 200 grams or more but less than 1 kilogram is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 1 kilogram or more but less than 5 kilograms is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 5 kilograms or more but less than 20 kilograms is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 20 kilograms or more but less than 40 kilograms is a  second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 40 kilograms or more is a  second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile).


  • Cocaine — Less than 5 grams is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 5 grams or more but less than 10 grams is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 10 grams or more but less than 20 grams is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 20 grams or more but less than 27 grams is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 27 grams or more is a first-degree felony.


  • LSD (solid) — Less than 10 unit doses is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 10 or more unit doses but less than 50 unit doses is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 50 unit doses or more but less than 250 unit doses is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 250 unit doses or more but less 1,000 unit doses is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 1,000 unit doses or more is a first-degree felony.


  • LSD (liquid) — Less than 1 gram is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 1 gram or more but less 5 grams is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 5 grams or more but less than 25 grams is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 25 grams or more but less 100 grams is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 100 grams or more is a first-degree felony.


  • Heroin — Less than 1 gram or less than 10 unit doses is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 1 gram or more but less than 5 grams, or 10 or more unit doses but less than 50 unit doses is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 5 grams or more but less than 10 grams, or 50 unit doses or more but less than 100 unit doses is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 10 grams or more but less than 50 grams, or 100 unit doses or more but less 500 unit doses is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 50 grams or more, or 500 unit doses or more is a first-degree felony.


  • Controlled Substance Analog — Less than 10 grams is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 10 grams or more but less than 20 grams is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 20 grams or more but less than 30 grams is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 30 grams or more but less than 40 grams is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 40 grams or more is a first-degree felony.


  • Fentanyl-Related Compound — Less than 1 gram or less than 10 unit doses is a fifth-degree felony (fourth-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 1 gram or more but less than 5 grams, or 10 or more unit doses but less than 50 unit doses is a fourth-degree felony (third-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 5 grams or more but less than 10 grams, or 50 unit doses or more but less than 100 unit doses is a third-degree felony (second-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), 10 grams or more but less than 20 grams, or 100 unit doses or more but less 200 unit doses is a second-degree felony (first-degree felony when alleged offense was committed in the vicinity of a school or juvenile), and 20 grams or more, or 200 unit doses or more is a first-degree felony.

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties

When a drug trafficking case results in federal charges, the penalties can become much more serious. A sentence will again depend on the drug involved in an alleged offense, but federal convictions are generally punishable as follows:


Controlled Substance

Amount

Fine

Prison Sentence

Cocaine

500-4,999 grams

First Offense: Mandatory minimum five year sentence up to 40 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $5 million for individuals, $25 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $8 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Cocaine base

28-279 grams

Fentanyl

40-399 grams

Fentanyl analogue

10-99 grams

Heroin

100-999 grams

LSD

1-9 grams

Pure methamphetamine

5-49 grams

Methamphetamine mixture

50-499 grams

Pure PCP

10-99 grams

PCP mixture

100-999 grams


Controlled Substance

Amount

Fine

Prison Sentence

Cocaine

5 kilograms or more

First Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.


Third or Subsequent Offense: Life in prison.

First Offense: Up to $5 million for individuals, $25 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $8 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.


Cocaine base

280 grams or more

Fentanyl

400 grams or more

Fentanyl analogue

100 grams or more

Heroin

1 kilogram or more

LSD

10 grams or more

Pure methamphetamine

50 grams or more

Methamphetamine mixture

500 grams or more

Pure PCP

100 grams or more

PCP mixture

1 kilogram or more

Other Schedule I and Schedule II Substances

Any amount

First Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Up to 30 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.

First Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $2 million for individuals, $10 million for non-individuals.

Any drug product containing gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)

Any amount

Flunitrazepam

1 gram or more

Marijuana

Less than 50 kilograms marijuana (Not including 50 or more marijuana plants, regardless of  weight), or 1 to 49 marijuana plants

First Offense: Up to five years in prison.


Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $250,000 for individuals, $1 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2 million for non-individuals.

Hashish

10 kilograms or less

Hashish Oil

1 kilogram or less

Marijuana

50 to 99 kilograms marijuana mixture, or 50 to 99 marijuana plants

First Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Up to 30 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment.

First Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $2 million for individuals, $10 million for non-individuals.

Hashish

More than 10 kilograms

Hashish Oil

More than 1 kilogram

Marijuana

100 to 999 kilograms marijuana mixture, or 100 to 999 marijuana  plants

First Offense: Mandatory minimum five year sentence up to 40 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $5 million for individuals, $25 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $8 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.

Marijuana

1,000 kilograms or more marijuana mixture, or 1,000 or more marijuana plants

First Offense: Mandatory minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison.


Second Offense: Mandatory minimum 20 year sentence up to life in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, life sentence.

First Offense: Up to $10 million for individuals, $50 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $20 million for individuals, $75 million for non-individuals

Other Schedule III Drugs

Any amount

First Offense: Up to 10 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, up to 15 years in prison.


Second Offense: Up to 20 years in prison. If case involves death or serious bodily injury, up to 30 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2.5 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $1 million for individuals, $5 million for non-individuals.

All other Schedule IV Drugs (other than one gram or more of Flunitrazepam)

Any amount

First Offense: Up to five years in prison.


Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $250,000 for individuals, $1 million for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $500,000 for individuals, $2 million for non-individuals.

All Schedule V Drugs

Any amount

First Offense: Up to one year in prison.


Second Offense: Up to four years in prison.

First Offense: Up to $100,000 for individuals, $250,000 for non-individuals.


Second Offense: Up to $200,000 for individuals, $500,000 for non-individuals.


Columbus, OH Drug Trafficking Resources

Quick Facts on Drug Trafficking Offenses | United States Sentencing Commission (USCC) — View a fact sheet from the USCC that claims 19.240 of the 66,873 cases reported to the USCC in fiscal year 2017 involved drug trafficking. The majority of drug trafficking offenders were men (84.1 percent), and almost half of the offenders were Hispanic (49.8 percent) followed by black (24.7 percent), then white (22.4 percent), and other races accounted for 3.1 percent. According to the USCC, 95.6 percent of drug trafficking offenders were sentenced to imprisonment.


High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) | Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — The HIDTA program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 to provide assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. There are currently 29 HIDTAs encompassing 67 percent of the United States population, and Ohio has HIDTAs in the southwestern, northeastern, and central areas of the state. Visit this website to learn about other criteria required to qualify for consideration as a HIDTA.


Drug trafficking | United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) — For a more global perspective on drug trafficking, visit the UNDOC website to learn more about how drugs flow through different areas of the globe. According to the UNDOC, world heroin consumption (340 tons) and seizures represent an annual flow of 430-450 tons of heroin into the global heroin market. North America accounted for more than 40 percent of total global cocaine consumption, estimated to be around 470 tons.

Contact a Columbus Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Today

Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for an alleged drug trafficking crime in Columbus? Do not say anything to authorities until you have legal representation.


Contact Sabol | Mallory right away. You can have our attorneys examine your case when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.

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