Kingpin Charges

Kingpin Charges

Criminal Enterprise Charge

What Is A Kingpin Charge In TX

People who run businesses that sell controlled substances may face “kingpin” charges. The official name of these charges is continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) charges.  Police often target organized drug dealing operations with these charges instead of the small-time drug dealers.

The CCE statute was created to ensure that people who run major drug-dealing operations are placed behind bars for a long time. Contact a Houston drug cases lawyer to get additional information.

Charging Heads Of Drug Trafficking

What Is Kingpin Statute

Before the police investigators can arrest and charge the heads of drug trafficking, they have to prove:

  • That the defendant continuously committed a series of three or more drug crimes
  • The defendant committed drug offenses with the help of not less than 5 people
  • The defendant earned a substantial income from the drug trafficking business
  • The defendant was the manager, organizer, or supervisor of the illegal drug business

What Are The Defense Strategies For CCE Charges?

Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute

Some commonly used defense arguments include:

  • There is no clear way to determine whether the defendant played a supervisory or managerial role in the illegal business
  • There is ambiguity in the phrase “substantial income” which means that the idea that the defendant earned substantial income can always be contested
  • It is not easy for the government to prove what properties, investments, or stockpiles are actually owned by the defendant

What Are The Penalties For Kingpin Charges?

What Is A Kingpin In Drugs

Kingpin ChargesThe severity of the penalties is determined by whether the defendant had any prior convictions for the same offense.  Sometimes even the size of the drug-trafficking enterprise can determine the penalty the defendant faces.

  • A first-offense CCE conviction can lead to a 20-year minimum sentence in prison or a maximum of life imprisonment. The offender may also get a fine of $1 million.
  • A second-offense conviction has a minimum of 30 years in prison or a maximum of life in prison.
  • A defendant that runs an enterprise that grosses $30 million or more annually, or distributes at least 300 times the drug quantity that results in a severe penalty, faces life imprisonment.

Drug offenses almost always result in very serious penalties after a conviction.

Federal Drug Offenses

Drug Kingpin Definition

Remember that a major drug enterprise can lead to both state and federal charges.  Federal drug offenses are defined by Congress, which derives the authority to do this from the Constitution. They have the authority to define crimes in areas of commerce, taxation, and postal service.

Drug crimes under the Controlled substances act include:

  • Conspiracy: A person is guilty of conspiracy if they attempted to promote and facilitate the manufacture and distribution of illicit drugs.
  • Drug trafficking: involves the manufacture, distribution, and possession with the intent to distribute illicit drugs
  • Simple possession:  Involves possessing controlled substances without a valid prescription. You don’t have to intend to distribute the substance for you to be charged with simple possession.
  • Continuing criminal enterprise: distributing illicit drugs with the help of at least 5 people
  • Protected location crimes: involves the distribution of illicit drugs to people under the age of 21 or within a school, and playground zone.

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