The appellants in this case were indicted for a number of violations of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. A jury trial was held in the matter and the defendatns were all convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. The defendants raise several issues on appeal.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the appellants for a time frame of almost a year smuggled marijuana into the United States. The smuggling would typically include using shrimp boats to go into Columbia and return with multi-ton cargos of marijuana.
One of the defendants was found to be the leader of this conspiracy. At one point he arranged for one of the other defendants to use his boat to go to Columbia pick up marijuana and take it to the Bahamas. During this particular trip the defndants transported 10 tons of marijuana. The boat that made the transport was spotted by the Coast Guard and they dumped all of the marijuana overboard. When the Coast Guard boarded the ship they did not find any evidence of marijuana.
Another trip was arranged a few months later and this time the owner fo the boat was paid $4000 for its use. The ship took on 40,000 pounds of marijuana from Columbia and offloaded 96 bales near the Bahamas onto smaller boats that then went to Florida.
A second trip was made on the same boat and on the way back approximately 50 miles from the coast of Columbia the ship was boarded by the Coast Guard and the crew members were arrested and the ship was taken.
Appeals and Decisions
Two of the defendants argue that the government failed to prove that the offense of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute took place in the southern part of Georgia. Criminal defendants are provided with the right to be tried in the state and district where the crime is committed.
A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the court has determined that there is not a direct need of proof of venue when the circumstantial evidence clearly shows the crime was committed near the area of the venue. This appeal is denied.
One of the defendants is appealing his sentence arguing that he was improperly convicted and that his sentence of 40 years was too high. However, the sentences for the crimes that he was convicted of require the terms that were given and for this reason this appeal is denied as well.
Another defendant who was only convicted on the second count of the indictment objects to the admission of a written statement of a government witness into evidence. The defendant along with his lawyers submitted a statement in the hopes of getting a better plea bargain. This statement was offered as evidence in the case and he argues that it should not have been.
In this case the statement was introduced as evidence appropriately as it was relevant to the case at hand. The statement was not considered hearsay and for this reason could be used as evidence.
If you find yourself in need of legal advice, whether you have been charged with sex crimes, drug possession or theft, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our offices are located all around New York City for your convenience. You may call us any time to set up an appointment for a free consultation.