Federal Drug Manufacturing – 21 U.S.C. § 841
Drug manufacturing, distributing, and importing are all offenses under 21 U.S. Code § 841 that may be charged on the federal level and heavily pursued. In simple terms, this statute makes it a federal drug crime to knowingly or intentionally manufacture an unlawful controlled substance. It also provides harsh penalties for anyone who is convicted in a federal criminal court.
A 21 U.S.C. § 841 drug manufacturing crime occurs when an individual, or group of people, actually produce, or attempt to produce, controlled substances. The most common controlled substances include cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Drug manufacturing is clearly a crime at the state-level. For a drug manufacturing case to become a federal crime, specific factors have to occur. For example, the crucial factors include how much drugs were manufactured, and if the drug manufacturing was connected to a large-scale illegal drug operation.
One major distinction between a state charge and a federal charge is the penalties for a conviction. The penalties for a federal drug manufacturing case are substantially higher than a conviction for state court drug manufacturing case.
Under 21 U.S.C. § 841, a federal drug manufacturing case could be filed against any person who is a participant in the drug production process. This would include any person who provides chemicals or equipment used to manufacture illegal drugs or a controlled substance.
The statute also includes penalties for any person who is the manager of a drug manufacturing facility or even any person who makes an agreement to help in the drug manufacturing process. A conviction for drug manufacturing has three levels of punishment depending on the amount of the substance and the type of substance.
The mandatory minimums vary from ten years to life from five to forty years or from zero to twenty years in prison. If any of the drug manufacturing or distributing is occurring near a school or college, the penalties will be twice the maximum penalty.
Where the Feds will get involved with these type of cases is when you go across state lines or you're going internationally, or even where you have a big operation and it's occurring in a particular state or jurisdiction. If it's not a big operation then the Feds usually won't get involved, rather they will let the state deal with the manufacturing charge.
Unfortunately, when it comes to manufacturing of drugs, if the federal government gets involved, such as the FBI, Homeland Security, DEA, Secret Service, any of their agents, then you can bet you'll possibly be looking at mandatory minimum sentences.
In order to give readers more useful information about the laws on drug manufacturing laws, our federal criminal defense attorneys are providing a detailed review below.
Federal Prosecution of Drug Manufacturing Cases
The Federal Drug Administration (DEA is the primary federal enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of drug manufacturing cases. For many decades, their agents have taken a thorough and aggressive approach to investigating and prosecuting large-scale federal drug offenses, which includes 21 U.S.C. § 841 drug manufacturing and 21 U.S.C. § 846 drug conspiracy.
If you have been arrested in California for drug manufacturing, it's possible you could be charged under either California state or federal laws, depending on certain factors. As discussed above, 21 U.S.C. § 841 makes it a federal crime to manufacture or distribute controlled substances.
If you are charged under California law, the case will be prosecuted by the local District Attorney's Office. If charged under federal law, a United States Attorney will prosecute all federal offenses, such as drug manufacturing.
The federal prosecutor has the burden to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove all the crucial factors that you did the following acts
- Had possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, or
- Created or distributed a counterfeit substance; or possessed it with intent, and
- Performed any of the acts knowingly or intentionally.
The phrase “knowingly or intentionally” is making reference to your state of mind at the time you acted. In simple terms, under federal law, it has to be proven you knew you were manufacturing a controlled, or a counterfeit, or that you had specific intent to do so. See related blog: Does the Weight of Drugs Matter in a Criminal Prosecution?
Penalties for Federal Drug Manufacturing Conviction
A noted above, if you are convicted of a 21 U.S.C. § 841 federal manufacturing case, the penalties you are facing are more severe than a state-level conviction.
It should be noted, however, the exact penalties will depend on a wide range of factors under the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The main factors include the specific type and quantity of controlled substance and if weapons were involved.
However, if you are found guilty of manufacturing controlled substances in the certain quantities that are listed below, then you could receive a maximum sentence of 40 years, a fine up to $5 million for an individual, or up to $25 million if it was an organization:
Methamphetamine – 5 grams or more, or 50 grams of substance containing meth
Phencyclidine (PCP) – 10 grams or more, or 100 grams of substance containing PCP
Heroin – 100 grams or more
Cocaine – 500 grams or more
Cocaine base – 28 grams or more
Marijuana – 100 kilograms or more, or 100 plants
Phencyclidine (PCP) – 10 grams or more
There are certain circumstances when the penalties for a federal drug manufacturing conviction could be increased. If a person dies after using the controlled substances, then you could receive a sentence of life in prison.
Related federal drug crimes include drug cultivation, drug trafficking, drug smuggling, drug conspiracy. The federal crime of Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) primarily targets large-scale drug traffickers participating in extensive drug conspiracies.
Defending Federal Drug Manufacturing Charges
If you are accused of 21 U.S.C. § 841 federal drug manufacturing, a federal prosecutor has substantial resources at their disposal to secure a conviction. It should be noted that a federal criminal conviction doesn't have parole and any convicted defendant will serve most of their federal prison sentence.
Our federal criminal defense attorneys will throughly review all the circumstances and evidence in your case to make a decision on the best strategy. When you hire an experienced defense lawyer who understands how to effectively negotiate with the prosecutor and how to uncover weaknesses in the case, you will have a much better chance of resolving the case favorably. Every case is unique, but some common defense against federal drug manufacturing charges include:
You were not aware the drugs were illegal
Going back to the elements of the crime, note that the prosecutor has to prove “knowledge” and “intent” in a drug manufacturing case. In some case, it might be reasonable to argue you were only an employee of the facility, following instructions, and thought the drugs were manufactured for legal distribution.
Misconduct by Federal Law Enforcement
In certain situations, it might be possible to argue the federal agents on the case acted improperly while they were investigating the case. If the controlled substances were seized without a search warrant, then it might be possible to get the evidence excluded and the case might get dropped.
On another note, perhaps there were not enough drug manufactured to be considered a federal crime. Also, perhaps you are a victim of entrapment by the federal agents. Finally, perhaps the controlled substances were seized after an illegal search.
If you have one of these manufacturing cases, what we do is we have you come in. We talk about what happened, whether you have any defenses to the case. Obviously, we will assess those and assert them at the right time. Really what we're trying to do is get a game plan together right from the beginning if you're charged with manufacturing drugs and you're facing federal charges.
Part of that game plan is talking about the sentencing guidelines and how they will apply to your case. We'll talk about who is involved in the case, whether it's just you or other people are involved. What are some of the things you can start to do right from the beginning if you're charged with a federal manufacturing case that can benefit and shave off years of federal custody time at 85%.
Factors Considered By Federal Prosecutor
What prosecutors are really looking at is the danger that is caused by manufacturing drugs. Not just the danger of people getting a hold of them, becoming addicting, overdosing, but the danger when you manufacture certain things can happen, especially if you're doing it in a residential neighborhood where an explosion can occur.
Someone can be poisoned. There's all sorts of different theories that the prosecutors come up with when they're talking about these manufacturing charges and trying to keep people in custody when they arrest them so they can't bail out. They'll try to seek no bail from the federal judge. It's my job as your attorney to try to get you out so you can help in your defense.
So, that first appearance is crucial to have your champion by your side armed with favorable facts to you to try to get you out of custody so that you can defend yourself in the right way. So, pick up the phone and make the call.
Let's sit down and talk under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege and we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of what I can do to help you in your federal case, what you can do to help yourself, what you're really facing and to start to turn the tide in your favor so that you can get a result that you must have related to a federal manufacturing charge pursuant to 21 USC 841, which is a general section that the prosecutors are charging these types of crimes with.
Due to the complexity of federal laws and court systems, an experienced and knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney is essential and our lawyers in Los Angeles are the one that are going to persistently fight for your case. If you are facing drug manufacturing charges or any type of federal drug crime the wise step for you to take is to immediately contact us for a free case review.