The transition from a state drug offense to a federal crime in Texas has significant legal implications. Federal drug offenses are subject to strict sentencing guidelines that may result in longer prison sentences.
Understanding the difference between state and federal drug crimes can help you protect your legal interest when facing serious charges.
Interstate and cross-border drug trafficking
Drug-related activities that involve multiple states or cross state lines fall under federal jurisdiction. Interstate drug trafficking, distribution or transportation can result in federal charges, even if the offense began in Texas.
Texas shares a border with Mexico, making it a focal point for drug smuggling activities. Drug smuggling cases involving the border often fall under federal jurisdiction.
Crimes on federal property
Drug offenses that occur on federal property or within federal facilities are also subject to federal prosecution. For example, drug-related activities on national parks, military bases or federal buildings can result in federal charges.
Involvement of federal agencies
The involvement of federal law enforcement agencies can trigger federal charges. Examples include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Large drug quantities
Drug offenses involving large amounts of controlled substances are more likely to attract federal attention. Federal laws have strict penalties for offenses involving trafficking and distribution. For example, the mandatory minimum sentence is five years for possession of at least 50 g of meth, 5 kg of cocaine, 10 g of LSD or 400 g of fentanyl.
Conspiracy and cartel involvement
Federal authorities often use conspiracy charges to prosecute drug-related offenses that involve multiple individuals or organizations. You could receive this type of charge even with minor involvement. In addition, drug offenses connected to major cartels or international trafficking organizations are typically handled at the federal level due to their scale and complexity.
Ultimately, the decision to prosecute a drug offense at the federal level rests with federal prosecutors. They evaluate the specifics of the case and determine if it warrants federal charges.