A 54-year-old woman and her 22-year-old daughter were arrested for attempting to smuggle more than 10 pounds of cocaine through Los Angeles International Airport. According to a CBS News report, both women are Spanish citizens who were on their way to Australia. A U.S. Customs officer noticed something unusual in the younger woman’s checked-in luggage. When officers probed packets of chocolate syrup and salad dressing, they found clear plastic bags containing a white paste that tested positive for cocaine. They also found more of the substance in the mother’s baggage. Both women were arrested and charged with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, they could face up to five years in federal prison.
Just possessing any type of controlled substance or narcotic is a crime under California law. Possession of a narcotic with the intent to distribute, sell, or transport is an even more serious crime. Intent to distribute charges are often filed by the prosecution when police officers confiscate large quantities of drugs from a person, when they find large quantities of cash along with the drugs, or find instruments, such as scales or baggies, which indicate that the drugs are meant for distribution or sale.
It is common for innocent people to get arrested or charged with possessing drugs with the intent for sale. In some cases, the drugs may not even belong to the defendant. This could be especially true if you are carrying items for someone else or if someone else packed your bags for you. The consequences of intent to distribute charges can be severe and often include a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines.
The experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyers and Sitkoff & Hanrahan have a long and successful track record of fighting unfair drug charges. If you or a loved one has been accused of drug possession or intent to distribute drugs, please contact us at (866) 430-8383 to discuss your case at absolutely no cost.