Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges

Racine Criminal Lawyer for Federal Drug Crime Charges

Federal policing agencies get involved in certain types of drug crimes, but in order for charges to be filed in federal court in a drug conspiracy case, there are several factors that must be present. These include sufficient evidence that the conspiracy existed, and that the defendant willingly and knowingly participated in this conspiracy. There is no need to have actually been “hands-on” or to have personally possessed any controlled substances. In fact, you may not have actually committed a drug crime at all, but the authorities believe you were involved in some capacity in planning such a crime.

The majority of these cases involve police informants that have provided information to the federal authorities. When a drug crime case is moving forward in federal court, there is often a round-up of many individuals who they believe had some involvement in the activity. Those that are arrested can gain some level of leniency if they provide information about the involvement of other people, and the pressure put upon these defendants often leads to identifying a number of people who may or may not have been involved. Once these people are named by a defendant in a drug case, or by a confidential informant, the named individuals will be investigated, with their phones tapped and other types of surveillance to gather more evidence in order to indict. Once enough evidence is gathered through this initial investigation, a search warrant is issued, and the federal authorities can aggressively enter your home, office or other location under your control to search for any evidence present.

If you have been unlucky enough to be associated with any person involved in the illicit drug trade, there is a high potential that you will face federal charges for drug conspiracy. If you have not already been arrested and charged, it is likely to occur within a short period of time. Retain counsel immediately if you believe you may be facing federal charges. Getting legal protection early can be critical in these cases. The penalties imposed in a conviction are significant, including mandatory minimum sentences.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Federal Drug Conspiracy Convictions

Under 21 USC §§ 841(a), 841(b)(1)(A); § 2D1.1, a person convicted of drug conspiracy will face the same penalties as those who are accused of being directly involved in a federal drug offense. The mandatory sentences are triggered by the quantity of the controlled substance in the case. For a mandatory 10-year sentence in a conviction, the case must involve:

  • 1 kilo or more of heroin
  • 5 or more kilos of cocaine
  • 280 grams or more of crack cocaine
  • 100 or more grams of PCP or 1 kilo of PCP mixture
  • 10 grams or more of LSD
  • 1,000 kilos of marijuana or
  • 1,000 or more marijuana plants

For a mandatory 5-year penalty in a federal penitentiary, the case must involve:

  • 100 grams or more of heroin
  • 500 grams or more of cocaine
  • 28 grams or more of crack, 10 grams or more of pure PCP or 100 grams or more of PCP mixture
  • 1 gram or more of LSD
  • 100 kilos of marijuana, or more than 100 marijuana plants
  • 5 grams or more of pure meth, or 50 grams or more of meth mixture.

The federal government imposes very stiff sentences on drug offenders. Once caught in the federal criminal justice system, the need for quality defense counsel cannot be overstated. It is critical that you engage the services of a federal drug crime defense lawyer that has high level experience, and who will research the facts in your case for any holes or errors that could open the door to a case dismissal. You may have been the victim of false testimony by a witness who was merely seeking leniency, or you may not have been involved at all. Some have faced charges who were completely unaware of the case and but were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. An immediate investigation into the facts needs to take place so that the correct defensive actions are initiated.

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer for Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges

Our lead federal criminal defense attorney, Patrick K. Cafferty, has a 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, as well as being rated as AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell® and listed in Wisconsin Super Lawyers® for 2008 – 2014. Your case will be handled by a true professional in criminal law. Depth of knowledge and legal skill become extremely important in federal drug conspiracy cases, and the potential for having the charges against you dismissed or reduced will be in large part based upon the skills with which the case is handled by your attorney. Call today to find out more.


  • http://www.ussc.gov/guidelines-manual/2011/2011-2d11

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From our offices in Racine and Kenosha Wisconsin, the criminal defense lawyers at Cafferty & Scheidegger defend the rights of people charged with state and federal criminal offenses throughout Southeastern Wisconsin (Racine, Kenosha, Walworth). If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Racine federal criminal defense attorney right away. For urgent matters, you are welcome to call or text us 24 hours a day at ‪(262) 632-5000.


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The attorneys at Cafferty & Scheidegger have excellent knowledge of the state and federal court system throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. They are aggressive trial lawyers that are recognized for integrity and hard work. Our law firm’s strength lies in our exceptional pre-trial investigation and case preparation. We come to the prosecutor’s office prepared with the facts and ready to help you get the best possible outcome for your charges. Our priority is always to keep you out of jail and avoid a conviction on your record, whenever possible.

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The dedication of the team at Cafferty & Scheidegger to client service and their record of success has earned them listings as Wisconsin Super Lawyer® from 2008 through 2022. In addition, their reputation for high standards has earned them an AV Distinguished rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Cafferty & Scheidegger is backed by more than 28 years of trial skills and courtroom experience.

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