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21 Facing Federal Charges Related to Drug Trafficking and College Frats


Twenty-one people are facing federal drug trafficking charges related to North Carolina colleges and fraternities. Many of those charged are either current or former students of Duke University, UNC, or Appalachian State. The U.S. Attorney’s office characterized the students as “not small-time drug dealers” but rather, “hardened drug dealers,” whatever that means.

The U.S. prosecutor says that a large-scale supply chain had been created to help fuel drug culture on college campuses. The prosecutor further claims that the fraternities dealt in cocaine, LSD, molly, mushrooms, steroids, HGH, Xanax, and other narcotics. Court filings indicated that three fraternities from UNC were the main culprits behind the drug ring.

How Were They Caught? 

Federal authorities arranged for a cooperating defendant to set up a drug sting that implicated the main supplier, someone from California, who was the first to face charges related to the operation. The ensuing sting resulted in the seizure of 148 lbs. of marijuana, 442 of cocaine, 189 Xanax pills, and more. The main supplier is now facing a 73-month sentence in federal prison. Five others may face sentences of 10 years to life on similar charges.

Drug Trafficking Charges 

The State of Florida has laws that prevent the illegal trafficking, distribution, and manufacture of drugs considered addictive or dangerous. However, more often than not, federal charges are filed in organized drug trafficking cases because they require multi-state jurisdiction to investigate and prove.

Making matters more difficult for defendants are federal mandatory minimum sentences. These are often tied to the type of drug being distributed and even more so to the amount. As an example, you only need one gram of LSD to qualify under trafficking laws, but you’d need 25 lbs. of marijuana to qualify for a similar sentence.

Defenses to Drug Trafficking 

The best defenses to drug trafficking charges are often based on a credible alibi or lack of knowledge of the illicit nature of the substance found or contents of the package. Also useful are procedural defenses that seeks to suppress evidence that was acquired illegally. Fourth Amendment protections require federal investigators to follow strict standards when it comes to searching and seizure. Evidence that is obtained without a warrant or probable cause can be tossed out by the judge.

Such defenses also include classics like “entrapment”, but laypeople have an overzealous imagination when it comes to entrapment and believe that they cannot be lured into committing a crime. They absolutely can if there is any predisposition to the elements of the crime – so entrapment defenses are rare and generally ineffective.

Talk to a Tampa Federal Crime Lawyer Today 

If you’re facing federal charges, then you need a law firm that has defended clients in federal court against federal prosecutors in front of a federal judge. Nicholas G. Matassini is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Call the Tampa criminal attorneys at Matassini Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help.



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