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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

California man sentenced on narcotics and gun charges

A 39-year-old man who was convicted on drug trafficking and weapons possession charges following a three-day trial has been sentenced to 100 months in a federal prison. The sentence was handed down on April 19 by a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco. The judge also ordered four years of supervised release for the man once he has completed his custodial sentence. He has remained in custody since his February 2016 arrest and will begin serving his sentence immediately according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.

The man was taken into custody after officers from the Menlo Park Police Department pulled his Cadillac Deville sedan over for having unlawfully tinted windows and an expired registration tag. When they approached the vehicle, officers claim to have noticed a bag of what appeared to be marijuana next to the center console and a set of weighing scales on the front passenger seat.

According to court documents, officials searched the vehicle again and seized undisclosed quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and a loaded Glock semiautomatic handgun with a spare magazine. The items were all concealed in one of the vehicle's air vents, according to reports. The jury hearing the case returned guilty verdicts on five of the six felony counts against the man.

This case reveals how severe the penalties for committing nonviolent drug crimes can be, but even federal prosecutors may be willing to reduce them to avoid the inherent risks of a jury trial. When the evidence against their clients is compelling and police do not appear to have violated their client's constitutional rights, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to resolve narcotics cases such as this one during plea negotiations.

Source: The Menlo Park-Atherton Patch, Peninsula Man Sentenced For Drug Trafficking: DOJ, Sue Wood, April 22, 2019

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