Although the drugs of choice have changed over time, the War on Drugs has been going on in the United States for decades. Recently, however, the manner in which many drug traffickers and even simple users obtain drugs has also changed. The rise of the internet has provided another avenue for obtaining illegal drugs as well as a way to bypass the strict prescription drug laws in the U.S. If you have been charged with one of the numerous laws related to internet drug crimes, you are likely facing penalties that include the possibility of a lengthy period of incarceration. At Haas Law, we have the resources, dedication, and expertise necessary to protect your rights and develop a winning defense if you have been charged with an internet drug crime.
What Are Internet Drug Crimes?
The rapid spread of the internet has caused the world to shrink and international borders to disappear. Today, it is just as easy to communicate with someone on the other side of the world as it is to talk to your next-door neighbor. The internet has also dramatically impacted international trade with U.S consumers importing trillions of dollars in goods from all over the world each year.
In the early 2000s, the Tor network (short for “The Onion Router) emerged. Tor operates on the fringe of the internet, providing anonymity to users through an extensive network of relays that make it difficult to locate users and follow traffic. Tor serves as the underlying technology of the “dark web.” Not long after Tor was developed, an unknown cryptography expert developed Bitcoin, the world’s first currency and payment network not controlled by a national government. The combination of the dark web and Bitcoin led to the Silk Road where an unprecedented number of illicit drug transactions occurred before it was finally shut down in 2013. Internet drug transactions, however, continue. Among the charges you might face related to internet drug trafficking include using the internet to:
- Negotiate, purchase, or ship illicit “street” drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.
- Facilitate the illegal prescription sales and shipment of controlled substances directly to buyers without a medical exam by a physician as required by U.S. law.
- Committing fraud by shipping counterfeit or fake drugs ordered over the internet.
- Marketing prescription drugs in violation of U.S. law, such as marketing steroids or animals but selling them to humans.
- Conspiring with rogue pharmacies across the globe to traffic prescription drugs.
- Engage in money laundering as part of a narcotics trafficking operation
Internet Drug Crimes Potential Penalties
If you are convicted of a federal internet drug crime you could face serious penalties including substantial prison time and hefty fines. The exact penalties you are subject to depend on the crime; however, some common examples include:
- Conspiracy to traffic in narcotics may be punishable by 10 years up to life in prison.
- Money laundering may be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
- Distributing fentanyl or heroin could result in five years to life in prison.
- Selling counterfeit drugs is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Along with a lengthy term of imprisonment, you could also face millions of dollars in fines as well as subject your personal property to forfeiture by the government if you are charged and/or convicted of an internet drug crime.
Common Defenses in Internet Drug Crime Prosecutions
If you have been charged with an internet drug crime or believe you are under investigation for an internet drug crime, retaining an experienced defense attorney as early on as possible is crucial to your defense and protecting your rights. The strategies your internet drug crimes attorney uses in your case will depend on the unique circumstances and specific accusations in your case; however, some common defenses include:
- Using the complex –and often unreliable — technology used to charge you as a defense.
- Relying on the often-elusive nature of “witnesses” encountered on the dark web.
- Excluding evidence located on your computer or other electronic devices if it was obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure.
Get Help from Experienced Internet Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys
Contact an experienced internet drug crimes defense attorney right away if you suspect you are under investigation or have been arrested for a criminal offense related to internet drug crimes.
At Haas Law, we understand the unique nature of internet drug crimes and have extensive experience representing those accused of committing them. We are committed to protecting your rights, defending the accusations against you, and securing your freedom.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.