Illinois, and particularly Chicago, is famous for many things. Deep dish pizza, the Chicago Bears, and the many museums and entertainment venues are a few of the positive things, but there are some negatives we’re known for as well – like drug trafficking.
Recently, a huge drug trafficking operation that was working out of Garfield Park in Chicago was taken down by a team of state and local investigators.
For quite some time, they used a variety of techniques to gather evidence that has now resulted in the arrest and charging of over 20 people related to drug trafficking and weapons.
What type of investigation techniques are used in operations like this? And what does it mean to be charged with drug trafficking in Illinois? Read on to find out.
How Illinois Evidence is Collected
A variety of agencies at both the state and federal level devote time and energy to the investigation of drug trafficking. Some of the most common agencies that investigate include:
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- Department of Homeland Security
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- Regional Drug Task Force
- Local State and Police Agencies, such as the Chicago Police
These agencies use a variety of tactics to collect evidence and get a full picture of the drug trafficking operation.
It’s not unusual for undercover agents to be placed in drug trafficking operations or to buy drugs from those involved and use wiretapping techniques to help prove the guilt of those involved.
Note that these techniques are all used following a strict set of rules and guidelines to ensure they’re operating legitimately, however. Otherwise, the evidence presented may not be admissible in court.
Drug Trafficking in Illinois
Drug trafficking isn’t simply dealing drugs in Illinois, it’s actually the process by which someone transports, imports, or sells illegal drugs. It is a felony in Illinois, but it is also a federal crime.
Penalty Ranges for a Drug Trafficking Conviction
Penalties for drug trafficking can range from the Class X felony example above to a Class 3 felony. The type of drugs found and the amount will all play a role in what level of a felony is charged as well as the penalties if convicted. It’s also worth noting that if a cell phone is used as a part of a trafficking scheme for drugs, that alone is a Class 2 felony that can tack on an additional fine of $100,000.
State Sentencing for Drug Trafficking
In Illinois, the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act gives a judge the right to sentence someone convicted of drug trafficking to no less than twice the minimum term and no more than twice the max term to prison for the possession with intent to distribute, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances.
Serving Your Time in Illinois
The amount of time spent in prison will depend on the amount of the drugs found in the defendant’s possession as well as the type of drugs found. For example, possession of 100 grams of heroin is a Class X felony, which can be penalized by up to 30 years in prison. For 900 grams of heroin, a person can face up to 60 years in prison and fines that are equivalent to the full street value of the substance.
Drug trafficking is serious and investigators take a lot of time to build a case against people who are bringing drugs into Illinois with the intent to sell. That’s why if you’re arrested on drug trafficking charges, it’s important to understand the charges against you as well as your rights.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.