Drug Trafficking and North Carolina Punishment

What is drug trafficking? How is it punished in North Carolina? When most people hear the term “drug trafficking,” they usually think of selling large amounts of drugs. If you have enough of any controlled substance, you can be charged with trafficking by possession, even if the drugs were for your own use and you had no intent to distribute them. Drug trafficking is a type of drug offense that is triggered by having a statutorily defined threshold amount or weight of a particular controlled substance. North Carolina law sets out five types of trafficking g charges: trafficking by possession, delivery, manufacture, transportation and sale. Because of the multiple types of trafficking charges, it is common in Raleigh to see one drug transaction be prosecuted under multiple trafficking counts. Trafficking offenses are not sentenced under the regular grid for structured sentencing and instead, each type of trafficking has its own punishment that has mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines. The most common trafficking charges I see in Wade County are trafficking in opium, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. To trigger a trafficking charge, you must have to alleged to have at least 10 pounds of marijuana, 28 grams of cocaine, and only four grams or more of opium or heroin. Marijuana trafficking has a minimum sentence that ranges from 25 to 225 months in prison. A sentence for cocaine trafficking starts at 35 months and goes all the way up to 225 months. While trafficking in opiu