Possession With Intent to Distribute One Kilogram or More of Heroin
A Dominican male was charged in federal court with Possession with Intent to Distribute One Kilogram or More of Heroin. This particular charge carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten (10) years and a potential maximum sentence of life. The man’s charge followed an extensive federal law enforcement investigation into a drug trafficking organization run by the man’s cousin. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) led the investigation. The DEA suspected the drug trafficking organization (DTO) of importing kilogram-quantities of heroin into the United States from Mexico and mailing these quantities via Federal Express from California to Rhode Island. The DTO was complex.
It utilized a number of apartments to receive drug shipments, and thereafter, to transport the shipments for further processing and packaging of the heroin for sale. The DTO also used multiple vehicles, each equipped with hidden compartments to store and transport drugs. A number of people worked for the DTO and shared in the division of responsibilities within this drug operation that included receiving packages of drugs by mail, transporting the packages to stash houses, processing kilograms of heroin into larger volumes of drugs, packaging the larger volumes into various quantities for sale, and redistributing the final product. The DEA detected the DTO’s operations through various surveillance techniques including wiretaps, pole cameras, confidential sources, and even a closed circuit television camera installed inside a stash houses. One day, after observing the man on camera package drugs inside the stash house and then move the drugs to one of the designated transport vehicles, police initiated a traffic stop of him.
The stop yielded the discovery of more than one (1) kilogram of heroin, in two separate packages, concealed within a hidden compartment inside the vehicle. This prompted the man’s arrest. The man retained Attorney John L. Calcagni III to represent him in connection with his resulting federal drug charges. After months of negotiations by Attorney Calcagni with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the man entered into a pretrial agreement with the government that called for man’s guilty plea to the charged offense. The pretrial agreement also limited the total quantity of heroin attributable to the man for purposes of his determining his potential sentence or punishment under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Attorney Calcagni also developed and implemented a sentencing strategy aimed at minimizing his client’s punishment. This focused on emphasizing the man’s lack of criminal history, illegal status, inevitable deportation from the United States to the Dominican Republic, and how he was lured into the criminal conduct by a cousin who arranged for his illegal transport to the United States, and then surprisingly forced him to work for the DTO to repay the debts incurred for bringing him to this country. As the matter proceeded to sentencing, the government recommended a sentence of between six (6) and seven (7) years. Attorney Calcagni successfully argued and convinced the Court to limit the man’s jail sentence to 36 months or three (3) years. This is considered a tremendous victory when considering that the man originally faced a mandatory minimum term of ten (10) years.