Drug Trafficking Attorney in Albuquerque, NM

Prosecutors take drug trafficking charges seriously in New Mexico. If you have been arrested and charged with this crime, you are facing serious drug trafficking penalties that will affect your entire life. However, you may be able to avoid the harshest consequences with the help of a drug trafficking attorney who knows the law and can build you a strong defense.

What is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking, often called “drug distribution,” involves unlawfully manufacturing, transporting, selling, or importing illegal drugs. It may include controlled substances like narcotics and prescription drugs.

Drug trafficking is often related to a charge of drug possession. However, you are also being accused of knowingly or intentionally selling, transporting, or importing drugs or having the intent to sell or deliver drugs for commercial purposes.

If you are charged with drug possession but also have drug-related materials and tools, such as plastic baggies or scales, then your charges may be increased to drug trafficking.

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When Does Drug Trafficking Become a Federal Offense?

Felony drug trafficking charges may be brought under both state and federal laws. Federal drug charges typically arise when the sale, transportation, or distribution of an illegal substance takes place across state lines.

Many people think that drug trafficking involves professional criminals. However, anyone can be charged with drug trafficking under 21 U.S.C. § 841, which states that a person is guilty if they “knowingly or intentionally (1) manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance; or (2) create distribute or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.”

Technically, federal drug trafficking charges may be brought against someone who is in possession of a certain amount of controlled substance, even if it was not sold or distributed for commercial purposes.

What are the Penalties for Federal Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking is a serious crime in New Mexico, and the penalties can be severe. The penalties depend on the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and whether you have prior convictions. You will typically face years in prison and several thousand dollars in fines. You may also have to be on probation, go through a drug treatment program, and forfeit your assets.

Federal offenders may face even harsher penalties. The exact drug trafficking sentence for a federal conviction also depends on the type and amount of substance involved. It’s important to know that if the drug trafficking offense involves serious bodily injury or death, then you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Collateral Consequences of a Drug Trafficking Conviction

A drug trafficking conviction can have many collateral consequences, which are restrictions or penalties that apply in addition to the criminal sentence. These consequences can have a significant impact on your life.

Here are some of the most common collateral consequences of a drug trafficking conviction:

  • Loss of employment: Many employers are prohibited from hiring individuals with felony convictions, including drug trafficking convictions. This can make it difficult to find a job, even for low-skilled positions.
  • Loss of housing: Public housing authorities are also prohibited from renting to individuals with felony convictions. This can make it difficult to find safe and affordable housing.
  • Loss of public benefits: Individuals with felony convictions may be ineligible for certain government benefits, such as food stamps, welfare, and student loans.
  • Loss of professional licenses: Individuals with felony convictions may be ineligible to obtain or retain professional licenses, such as those required to practice law, medicine, or other professions.
  • Difficulty obtaining travel visas: Individuals with felony convictions may have difficulty obtaining travel visas. This can make it difficult to travel for work or pleasure.
  • Deportation: Non-citizens with felony convictions may be deported from the United States.

The collateral consequences of a drug trafficking conviction can be a major barrier to reintegration and can make it difficult for individuals to lead productive lives.

Legal Defense Options for Drug Trafficking Charges

There are many legal defenses that can be used to challenge drug trafficking charges. The specific defenses that are available will vary depending on the facts of the case and the jurisdiction in which it is being prosecuted.

Lack of Knowledge or Intent

You may not have known that the substance you were trafficking was a controlled substance. For example, you may have been duped by someone else or may have mistakenly believed that the substance was legal.


You may have been induced by law enforcement to commit the crime. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement persuades or tricks an otherwise innocent person into committing a crime that they would not have committed otherwise.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

If the evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, it may be inadmissible in court. This means that the prosecution cannot use the evidence to prove its case, and the charges against you may be dismissed.

Chain of Custody Issues

The chain of custody is the record of who handled the evidence from the time it was seized until it was tested in a lab. If there is a break in the chain of custody, it may cast doubt on the reliability of the evidence and weaken the prosecution’s case.

Lack of Possession

You may not have been in possession of the controlled substance. For example, the substance may have been planted on you by law enforcement, or you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and mistakenly associated with the substance.

Mistake of Fact

You may have made a mistake of fact that led you to commit the crime. For example, you may have been mistaken about the identity of the substance you were trafficking or the legality of your actions.

Carter B Harrison IV

Attorney & Partner

Nicholas T Hart

Attorney & Partner

How Does an Attorney Help?

A drug trafficking attorney can help you in many ways, including:

  • Investigating the facts of your case
  • Filing legal motions and drafting documents
  • Attending court hearings with you
  • Negotiating with the prosecution
  • Representing you in court and appeals
  • Helping you understand your charges and potential penalties

Contact a Drug Trafficking Lawyer Today

If you are charged with a drug crime like drug trafficking, it’s important to work closely with a drug trafficking defense attorney who understands relevant drug trafficking laws. The legal team at Harrison & Hart has experience helping first-time offenders as well as people who have been through the criminal justice system before.

Call us today at (505) 295-3261 or use our online contact form to schedule a case consultation.

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We’re ready to help you get your life back on track.

From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.

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