Drug Trafficking

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Drug Pages: 5 (1798 words) Published: March 17, 2014
December 9, 2013

Drug Trafficking: The War on Drugs

There is a global-wide market that connects every continent. Drug smuggling has been a problem plaguing the world since the dawn of the age of imperialism. Smuggling is the direct result that comes from drug prohibition and the main reason for smuggling is the direct cash profit resulting from the transaction. Illegal drug smuggling can be seen as early in the 1800's, a clear example would be the Opium War in China. The Chinese had become addicted to the opium provided to them by the British, and once the Chinese government banned it those who had become addicted still wanted their fill. The British then smuggled it into China and got large sums of money for the drug they provided. Eventually, the Chinese grew restless, they wanted their opium and the government would not allow for that, and then the Opium war broke out. The illegal drug trade led to violence, a common theme seen throughout history. More recently, in the 1960's drug use was at large within the United States and the government began placing restrictions on what was now deemed legal and illegal. In 1973, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was created to prevent the illegal trade of drugs. With the creation of this department came about the smuggling business inside of the United States. Those who still wanted their heroin, or cocaine, etc began looking elsewhere for their drugs and looked to those out of the country to begin smuggling the drugs, especially their bordering nation, Mexico. This was the start of the smuggling crusade in America that has yet to be stopped. Drug trafficking (distributing or delivering illicit drugs) is a violation of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.  A person may be found guilty of drug trafficking if he or she is proven to have knowingly delivered marijuana or any other illicit or controlled substance in any of the four groups of drugs defined and listed in the Texas Controlled Substances Act. (Marijuana is classified separately under this law.) Drug trafficking or distribution in Texas is a felony upon which a wide gamut of penalties may be imposed. It may be anywhere from a state jail felony, which carries the lightest sentence, to a first degree felony, which carries the harshest. The factors influencing which sentence will be imposed are: the amount of the drug being distributed or delivered; and the type of drug and which of the four groups of drugs it is classified under. The smaller the amount of a drug in a certain group, the lighter the sentence may be. The sentences involved may range anywhere from 180 days to two years in state jail and/or a fine of no more than $10,000 for a state jail felony, to life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a term of 15 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $250,000 for the heaviest first degree felony. The harshness of the sentence imposed depends on how much of the drug is being trafficked. For example, trafficking or distributing less than one gram of a substance in the first grouping of drugs carries a state jail felony charge, whereas trafficking 400 grams or more of any one of the same drugs carries a first degree felony charge that may include a life sentence. In 2004 an estimated: 282,590 adults were arrested for drug trafficking; 201,760 persons were convicted of felony drug trafficking; 139,210 drug traffickers were sentenced to incarceration; 78,690 drug traffickers were sentenced to state prison (or 28 for every 100 drug trafficking arrests). In 2004, drug offenders comprised about a third (34%) of all persons convicted of a felony in state courts. Drug traffickers accounted for 19% of all convicted felons; drug possessors also accounted for 15% of all convicted felons. Ninety-six percent of drug trafficking convictions in 2004 resulted from guilty pleas; 2% resulted from jury trials; and 2% from bench trials. Sixty-nine percent of persons convicted of drug trafficking in 2004...

References: Texas Controlled Substances Act
Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481, Section 481.112 - 481.114
BJS, State Court Sentencing of Convicted Felons, 2004, Statistical Tables, NCJ 217995, July 2007.
Gallahue P., Lines, R., ‘The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2010 ', 2010
Barret, D. et., al. 'Recalibrating the Regime: The Need for a Human Rights-Based Approach to International Drug Policy ', p.25, 2008
Human Rights Watch., ‘Where darkness knows no limits: Incarceration, Ill-Treatment and Forced Labor as Drug Rehabilitation in China ', 2010
"Wasting Billions on Drug Law Enforcement." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://www.countthecosts.org/seven-costs/wasting-billions-drug-law-enforcement>.
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