Houman Fakhimi

Santa Ana Drug Charges for Canadians in Smuggling Case

Two men are accused of drug crimes in Santa Ana, after police say they sold marijuana and ecstasy in the U.S. with the intention of using the proceeds to buy cocaine to smuggle into Canada.

Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney Houman Fakhimi, experienced in handling drug crime cases, knows that often, law enforcement expends a great deal of time and manpower to secure the arrests of alleged drug traffickers.

They want to make sure they get that return on investment, so they go hard after offenders they see as high-level. Convictions can net decades-long prison sentences. That's why it's critical if you're facing drug trafficking charges in Santa Ana to hire an attorney who can draw on decades of experience to defend you.

In this case, the operation was overseen by officials with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, as the suspects, age 31 and 41, are Canadian citizens. Investigators said the two worked for a drug ring in Canada that worked to sell ecstasy and marijuana in the U.S. The intent, officials say, was to then launder the money by buying cocaine and smuggling it into Canada.

In a multi-agency sting, federal agents went undercover in this case, posing as Mexican cocaine traffickers. they sought to collect an estimated $750,000, broken down into two payments, for approximately 40 kilos (or about 80 pounds) of cocaine. Authorities say the suspects are believed to have laundered some $15 million in drug profits over the last 12 months, though for now, they are simply charged with two counts of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

The allegation that an individual would conspire to launder money from one criminal enterprise to cover the tracks of another seems counterintuitive. Perhaps this is one reason prosecutors haven't charged the men with money laundering. If they do, however, it's a claim that a skilled defense attorney could begin to pick apart.

As far as the drug charge, under California Health & Safety Code 11351 and 11352, it's illegal to possess certain drugs for the purpose of selling them and it's also illegal to actually sell or even transport them.

Possession with intent to sell is more serious than a simple possession charge. In the latter scenario, authorities consider that the drugs you have on you are for your own personal use. In the former case, authorities consider the drugs in your possession to be intended for sale to others. Some pieces of evidence can strengthen the state's case against you, such as whether you also have large quantities of the drug, if it's been packaged, if you have scales, if you have a large amount of cash and if there have been a lot of people constantly coming and going from your residence.

With regard to transportation of drugs, the main targets of law enforcement are going to be cocaine, meth, opiates, heroin, peyote, LSD and certain prescription medicine, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. To prove that you are in violation of Health & Safety Code 11352, prosecutors have to show that you physically moved the drug from one location to another (doesn't matter if it was across the country or just a few blocks), or that you sold, supplied or gave it away. In order to be convicted on this charge, the prosecutor doesn't need to prove that you had any intent to sell or distribute the substances.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.