What will happen to my friend for mailing marijuana? - Criminal Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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What will happen to my friend for mailing marijuana?

I have a friend who was recently mailed multiple pounds of marijuana. The package was sent to a fake name, but to his/her address. They then learned from FedEx that the package had been seized by authorities. Can this person be charged with anything if they do not receive the package? Can the authorities get a search warrant based on the fact that marijuana was sent to the address alone?

Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
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Your friend can be prosecuted if the police and the district attorney want to investigate and can formulate enough evidence to get a magistrate to find probably cause to issue a warrant. The same is true for a search warrant. A magistrate could very easily find probable cause to issue a search warrant for the residence.

Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 4/25/2011

Answer By John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney
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They can both be charged but the evidence will be insufficient to convict either unless they have fingerprints, handwriting analysis, or admissions. About half or more of the people arrested confess or make admissions because they are unsophisticated, uneducated, and easily manipulated by the police. If people would simply call an attorney they would have a better chance of beating the charges or at least getting a better plea deal, but they are either too afraid of paying money or are unaware of their rights. The charges are federal and very serious. They could do serious time for mailing large amounts of marijuana due to the harsh federal sentencing guidelines.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/6/2011

Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
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I don't know what will happen. Neither do you, or your friend, because you don't know what evidence the police have. Your friend should talk to an attorney, and should refuse to talk to the police or consent to a search. Maybe they can get a warrant, but there's nothing you can do about it. Just don't make it worse.

Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/5/2011

Answer By Roy L. Reeves
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
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Your friend is in a world of deep hurt. Not only has he or she possessed "multiple pounds of marijuana" he or she has now engaged in mail fraud and trafficing. When he or he deposited it into a FedEx drop - he or she has opened up a whole can of worms. This is now federal. Use of a plane or interstate shipping opens the case to the feds.

So, to answer your questions: Yes, your friend can (and most likely will) be charged. I suspect, based on what you have written here that fingerprints are on the package showing actual care custody and control, there may be saliva on the stamps, etc as well. FedEx facilities and mail drop locations have video surveillance cameras too.

The authorities can and do routinely search shipments. Every package is screened, it can and most do pass through scanners there can be random dog sniffs, etc. The Bill of Laiden signed by your friend specifically states that shipments are screened and that the person shipping agrees to the screening and swears and affirms nothing illegal is contained in the box. Finally, without knowing more details, it is impossible to say if the warrant can be quashed, but the simple answer to your question is yes, the authorities can get a search warrant based on the fact that marijuana (particularly if you consider the circumstances ("multiple pounds") would lead a reasonable person to believe that the shipment is not for personal consumption. I am licensed in both the Easter and Western Districts (Federal) for Texas and am pending admission to the Northern District (I just have to be sworn in). I also practice in Collin and Dallas Counties if this matter is charged on the State level and would be happy to discuss the facts, cost of representation, and possible defenses with your friend.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/5/2011

Answer By Thomas J. Tomko
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
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The general answer is that anyone can always get charged with one thing or another. The real question is whether the police can prove their charges in Court.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/4/2011

Answer By Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
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Yes, authorities can probably get a warrant. One problem here is that your friend inquired about the package, apparently, though it was not addressed to him. Uh... how would he know to expect it, or that it hadn't arrived? That is a problem. I would need to know how your friend learned that the package had been seized by the authorities. Obviously, your friend should not admit anything to the police/Feds. He shouldconsult an attorney, including one who primarily practices Federal law. This could be prosecuted federally, which would be bad news for your friend. I do not know how the Feds found the marijuana (maybe a routine x-ray, or a drug dog), but it is important that your friend not admit anything. Otherwise, they could at least make a conspiracy charge out of the situation. Hopefully, your friend does not live alone.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/4/2011

Answer By Craig Andersen
Andersen Law PLLC
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Probably not if it was not addressed to your friend or any of his or her aliases. Especially if he or she has not taken control of the package. The package should not be brought into his or her home. Possession includes actual possession such as holding, transporting or using it. Possession also means constructive possession. The perfect example of this is when drugs are hidden in a center console in a car. While the person does not actually possess the dope, he or she constructively possesses the dope because he or she can exercise dominion or control over the weed. Whether or not it is actual or constructive possession, it makes no difference to the law. It is possessed. Your friend's best bet would be to not ask for the packages and make sure he or she is not part of a conspiracy to distribute drugs. Other than that, if he or she is arrested and had better remain silent. He or she must also ask for an attorney as soon as the cuffs go on. My contact numbers are below. If you friend is contacted by the police, he or she should call me.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/4/2011

Answer By Terry Nelson
Nelson & Lawless
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Answer: Arrest, potential conviction and prison time. His defense will be to try to show ignorance of the transaction and no participation in the scheme.

What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to not talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/4/2011

Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
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There must be probable cause for a warrant to issue. Really, you have to comply with the warrant, and then after the fact, check the affidavit that supported the warrant to see if the warrant was not valid. If not valid, then the evidence is due to be suppressed. There a multiple issues based on your inquiry. He needs counsel.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/4/2011

Answer By Maury Beaulier
Beaulier Law Office
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Mailing marijuana may be charged as a State or Federal offense. It may be charged as a Federal offense since Federal mail service was used. As a result, the offense may be extremely serious and, depending on the mount, may carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. Accordingly, hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney is critical.

Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/4/2011

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