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Shipping Drugs Through the Mail in Texas: Penalties & Consequences

Published: Jun 08, 2020 in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

Shipping drugs through the mail might seem safer than an in-person drug sale. But keep in mind the authorities are on the lookout for suspicious packages in the mail and can detect drugs in various ways.

According to Postal Service spokeswoman Kim Frum, “from FY 2016 through FY 2018, the Postal Inspection Service achieved a 1000% increase in international parcel seizures and a 750% increase in domestic parcel seizures related to opioids.”

The question is: what happens when drugs are found in the mail?

Sometimes, U.S. Postal Service inspectors alert local law enforcement and attempt to deliver the parcel to the recipient. When the recipient accepts, officers move in and make an arrest. The recipient then faces charges for drug possession.

Other times, law enforcement work their way back to the distributor to find the ones who put the package in the mail. When the senders are identified, they are charged with drug trafficking.

If you or a loved one have been charged with sending or receiving drugs through the mail, contact a Houston drug lawyer from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. You can schedule a free, initial case consultation by calling (713) 222-6767, or reach out online.

There are various reasons why you were misidentified or other ways to improve your situation.

Shipping Drugs in the Mail & Drug Trafficking Charges

Texas law defines drug trafficking as knowingly delivering a controlled substance to another person. It doesn’t matter if the delivery is made in-person or through the mail – it’s still drug trafficking.

It also doesn’t matter whether you are selling the drugs or not. The penalties depend on the type of drug and quantity involved. These penalties range from six months to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine to 15 to life in and $250,000 for a first-degree felony.

Marijuana in the Mail

Looking specifically at marijuana being shipped through the mail, the penalties for delivery are:

  • Between Four ounces and Five pounds – Up to two years in custody and a fine reaching $10,000
  • Five and 50 pounds – Two to 10 years in prison, and $10,000 in fines
  • 50 and 2,000 pounds – Two to 20 years in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
  • Over 2,000 pounds – Five to 99 years or life in prison, along with a fine reaching $50,000

Drugs through the Mail & Federal Charges

In cases involving a large drug shipment, or several shipments originating from the same source, federal prosecutors are likely to get involved. Federal drug trafficking cases are more expensive, difficult to defend against, and have very harsh penalties. For instance, a shipment under 100 kilograms of marijuana is punished with between five to 40 years in prison and thousands in fines under the federal guidelines.

However, federal prosecutors rarely charge someone with one offense. When drugs are sent through the mail, a federal prosecutor might charge you with things like misuse of the mail and mailing of injurious articles.

Why Do Drug Traffickers Use the US Postal Service?

Although people get caught sending drugs through the U.S. Postal Service frequently, the risks are still lower than other methods. For example, mailing drugs is the most effective way of shipping goods for those operating from the dark web.

According to a report from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, some online drug traffickers reported making thousands of successful shipments, even offering refunds for packages that got confiscated or lost in the mail system.

This same report also found that around 90% of online drug traffickers use the U.S. Postal Service because they “can send their packages like any other customer – dropping them in a collection box, or presenting them at a post office or through a third-party approved shipper.”

Another reason for its popularity is that there is no specific offense or enhanced penalty for using standard mail for shipping drugs. The report recommends that Congress should create “separate and enhanced criminal penalties for using the U.S. mail system to distribute illicit drugs.”

Accused of Shipping or Receiving Drugs Through the Mail? Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been accused of sending or receiving a package of drugs through the mail, you are at risk of some devastating criminal penalties. However, remember that you still have options. Sometimes false addresses ae used and packages get sent to incorrect locations all the time under normal circumstances.

At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we are ready to fight for you at every stage of the process to give you the best chance of avoiding these penalties.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in Houston involving the mail, call us today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.