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Differences between drug trafficking and smuggling

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2017 | Drug Trafficking

The United States currently experiences an extreme drug epidemic. Reports indicate that people traffic millions of dollars’ worth of drugs into the country every year, and Florida is a major hotspot for where these drugs enter. 

Most drug-related charges carry felony penalties. They can result in several years in prison at the bare minimum to extreme fines. The exact penalties can depend on the precise charge a person faces. That is why it is incredibly important for people to understand the nuances of law, such as the differences between drug trafficking and drug smuggling, which are typically used synonymously. 

Drug trafficking

Drug distribution, also known as trafficking, is the crime of illegally transporting, importing and selling drugs. This includes cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the state of Florida. The prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual in question was knowingly in possession of the illegal substance and also had the intent to sell it.

The intent to sell is a critical part of this charge. A person may only have a relatively small amount of cocaine in his or her home, and in this instance, the person will most likely face drug possession charges, which are still extremely serious. There are various ways for a prosecutor to prove there was intent to sell even if there is no hard evidence, such as a person possessing such a large quantity of illegal drugs that it could not possibly be for personal use. 

Drug smuggling

Drug smuggling also involves moving drugs from one state to another or even one country to another. It must be an illegal substance, or if it is a legal drug, then the smugglers must actively avoid paying customs duties and taxes to face charges for drug smuggling. Simply moving drugs is smuggling, but if there is an element of selling the drugs, then it goes into trafficking territory.