Houston Police Officer Charged in Cocaine Conspiracy
The officer, Noe Juarez, was arrested by federal agents in the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and faces an indictment in federal court in Louisiana. He was charged with trafficking 5 kilos of cocaine in the conspiracy, the report states. The 46-year-old also faces weapons charges in the scheme, which is linked to a well-known drug cartel.
Juarez’s defense attorney argued that the police officer did not know that he was selling firearms to drug cartel members, according to the report.
Fighting Federal Drug Charges
Timing is everything in federal cases. If you or a loved one has been indicted in Federal court or is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, you should contact and retain legal counsel immediately. You should also find someone who specializes in federal cases, as state criminal defense can be incredibly different depending on the type of case.
The Justice Department has its resources and routines down, and the defense counsel must be up to the challenge to go toe to toe with a federal institution.
In federal court, the U.S. Attorney for the relevant district has to prove two things in drug conspiracy cases: 1) There was an agreement between 2 or more people that violates federal drug laws, and 2) the person charged in the case joined or was somehow involved in that agreement.
So what can you do? An experienced federal defense lawyer can guide you through the process. There are a few common types of defenses in federal drug conspiracy cases:
- The defendant wasn’t aware of the agreement or plan. This could occur if a commercial driver unwittingly takes illegal drugs over state lines because he or she was not aware of everything in the load.
- The prosecution cannot prove that you were involved in the scheme or conspiracy at the heart of the case. This means that the government may be able to conclusively prove that you are indeed a drug dealer, but they cannot conclusively prove that you were involved with the exact conspiracy at hand.
- The defendant backed out of the illegal agreement.
- Evidence was illegally collected. If evidence was suppressed or illegally obtained by the government, the judge may toss it out and the jury will not consider it at trial
Federal drug conspiracy penalties range from mandatory sentences of 5, 10, 20, 40 and even life sentences depending on prior criminal history and amount of illegal drugs involved. To avoid mandatory sentencing guidelines, which essentially prescribe your punishment without further input, you can do one of two things. If you help the government discover additional crimes or cooperate during your investigation, the government may say you showed substantial assistance and remove the mandatory sentencing. The other way is to have a clean criminal record. If you have a very limited criminal history, or even none at all, and there have been no violence or firearms offenses, you may be shown leniency at sentencing.
What should I do if I’m facing federal drug charges?
Are you facing federal drug charges? You should contact experienced federal criminal defense lawyers immediately. Call the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. Tad Nelson has been Board Certified in Texas since 1996; half of the Board Certification test is based on Federal Criminal Law. We have years of experience in this field and can help you.