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Massachusetts G.L.c. 94C, § 32E: Trafficking in Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Morphine, Opium, Etc.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C, section 32E governs crimes involving trafficking of certain controlled substances. A trafficking charge is determined by the weight of the particular substance.

Particularly, the statute defines trafficking charges as follows based upon the type of substance involved:

Marijuana: “Any person who trafficks in marihuana by knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or cultivating or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or cultivate, or by bringing into the commonwealth a net weight of fifty pounds or more of marihuana or a net weight of fifty pounds or more of any mixture containing marihuana …”

Class B Substance, including Cocaine: “Any person who trafficks in a controlled substance defined in clause (4) of paragraph (a), clause (2) of paragraph (c) or in clause (3) of paragraph (c) of Class B of section thirty-one by knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, distributing or dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense or by bringing into the commonwealth a net weight of 18 grams or more of a controlled substance as so defined, or a net weight of 18 grams or more of any mixture containing a controlled substance as so defined…”

Class A Substance, including Heroin: “Any person who trafficks in heroin or any salt thereof, a controlled substance defined in paragraph (d) of Class A of section 31, morphine or any salt thereof, opium or any derivative thereof by knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, distributing or dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense or by bringing into the commonwealth a net weight of 18 grams or more…”

Fentanyl: “Any person who trafficks in fentanyl or any derivative of fentanyl by knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense or by bringing into the commonwealth a net weight of 10 grams or more of fentanyl or any derivative of fentanyl, or a net weight of 10 grams or more of any mixture containing fentanyl or any derivative of fentanyl…”

Accordingly, a person may be convicted of trafficking if he is found to be manufacturing, distributing or possessing with an intent to distribute 50 pounds or more of marijuana, 18 grams or more of cocaine or other Class B substance, 18 grams or more of heroin or other Class A substance and 10 grams or more of fentanyl.

Essential to the prosecution of a charge under this section is the weight of the controlled substance as well as the distribution or intent to distribute. Where it is alleged that a person possessed with the intent to distribute a particular quantity of a controlled substance, there are a variety of factors that may be considered in determining an intent to distribute; this includes the possession of large quantities of the contraband, the manner in which the narcotics are packaged, the presence of paraphernalia commonly used in the distribution of narcotics such as dilutants, scales, or glassine bags or other packaging materials, and the presence of cash in combination with multiple cell phones or other accoutrements of the drug trade.

Penalties

The penalties for trafficking charges vary depending on the type of controlled substance as well as the weight of the substance.

For instance, for a conviction of marijuana trafficking the following penalties apply:

  1. For a conviction of trafficking 50 pounds or more you face 2 ½ to 15 years in state prison or 1 to 2 ½ years in jail. A conviction carries a minimum mandatory 1 year sentence.
  2. For a conviction of trafficking 100 pounds but less than 2000 pounds you face 2 to 15 years in state prison. There is a minimum mandatory 2 year sentence to be served.
  3. For a conviction of 2000 pounds and less than 10,000 pounds the sentence can range from 3 ½ to 15 years in state prison. The minimum mandatory sentence is 3 ½ years.
  4. If convicted of trafficking 10,000 pounds or more the sentence ranges from 8-15 years. The minimum mandatory sentence is 8 years.

For a conviction of trafficking in Cocaine or other Class B substance the following penalties apply:

  1. 18 grams but less than 28 grams provides for 2 to 15 years in state prison. The minimum mandatory sentence you must serve is 2 years.
  2. 36 grams but less than 100 grams provides for a 3 ½ to 20 year prison sentence. 3 ½ years of this sentence is a minimum mandatory that must be served.
  3. 100 grams but less than 200 grams has a prison sentence that ranges from 8 to 20 years. 8 years of this sentence is a minimum mandatory.
  4. 200 grams or more requires a sentence of 12-20 years. The minimum mandatory is 12 years.

For a conviction of trafficking in Heroin or other Class A substance the following penalties apply:

  1. At least 18 grams but less than 36 grams requires a mandatory minimum 3 ½ year sentence. The maximum is 20 years.
  2. At least 36 grams but less than 100 grams requires a mandatory minimum 5 year prison sentence. The maximum is 20 years.
  3. At least 100 grams but less than 200 grams requires a mandatory minimum 8 year prison sentence. The maximum is 20 years.
  4. At least 200 grams requires a mandatory minimum 12 year prison sentence. The maximum is 20 years.

For a conviction of Fentanyl trafficking the following penalties apply:

  1. 10 or more grams of Fentanyl, or any derivative thereof, requires a mandatory minimum 3 ½ year prison sentence. The maximum sentence is 20 years.
  2. Trafficking in carafentanil in any quantity in punishable by a term of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 3 and one-half nor more than 20 years. No sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 and one-half years.
Defenses to Trafficking Charges

Experienced drug crimes attorneys will be able to craft solid defenses to trafficking charges, including challenges to the essential element of possession and intention to distribute, as well as aggressively challenging these cases through motions to suppress evidence and pretrial motions to dismiss. Additionally, experienced drug crimes attorneys know how to achieve the best possible outcomes and dispositions of these offenses, which may include reducing the charges to avoid minimum mandatory terms of imprisonment.

Massachusetts Drug Crimes Lawyer 617-263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with trafficking in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Neyman has multiple decades of experience defending those who have been accused of drug crimes in Boston and all throughout Massachusetts. He is an aggressive and smart attorney who is relentless in protecting the freedom of his clients. You can reach Attorney Neyman by calling 617-263-6800 or by sending him an email. He offers free and confidential initial consultations, which he will schedule at your convenience.

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