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Defendants Charged with Bribery and Participating in Drug Smuggling Ring

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the case before the court involves 10 appellants that have each been charged and convicted under different counts of a seven count indictment. The common thread between the appellants is that they have each been associated with participating in a bribery and drug smuggling ring.

Each of the appellants in the case is challenging his or her convictions on varied grounds. Some of the appeals are common among those that have been convicted for the same counts and others that are unique to each individual appellant. There are six main categories of appeals. First, is the admissibility of recorded conversations between a co-conspirator and certain appellants. Second, there are challenges to the RICO conspiracy convictions. Third, there are appeals regarding the sufficiency of evidence to convict. Fourth, certain appellants argue the cumulative sentences regarding the RICO conspiracy charges and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Fifth, the denial of conflict free counsel to certain appellants. Finally, there are tax issues raised by the appellants that were convicted on the sixth and seventh counts of the indictment.

Case Facts and Background

Simply put, this case involves several people with the common objective of profiting from criminal activity involving bribery and smuggling.

The first two appellants owned a dairy farm that is located in a largely rural area. An airstrip was built on an area of open field that was a part of the farm. This airstrip was used to transport large amounts of marijuana and hash for two of the other appellants who were considered the leaders of the smuggling operation. There was a dirt road next to the farm owner’s home that led to the airstrip. There was a stash house located nearby as well.

The individuals can be divided into two groups. The first group was the ones that participated in the drug smuggling and bribery. The second group was the law enforcement officials that provided protection for the drug smuggling activities.

Appeals and Decisions

The first appeal to be considered is the admission of tape recorded conversations. The appellants claim that admitting these tapes was a reversible error. However, the trial court found that the RICO conspiracy that the appellants were involved with allowed the admission of taped conversations as a way to determine who was involved in the scheme.

There are eight appellants that were charged under the first count of the indictment with the conspiracy to violate RICO. The first attack on this charge argues that the proof that the enterprise conducted their affairs through a pattern of racketeering does not meet the sufficiency standard for the charge. However, a Long Island Criminal Lawyer said the government has offered proof that the farm was used for the activities, there was a house on the farm where the drugs were stored, and that facilities on the farm were used in connection with the drug ring.

The court has reviewed all of the appeals in the case and each is denied except for the conviction of two of the defendants on the sixth count. The appeal for these two defendants on that particular count is granted and the conviction reversed.

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