A federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, sentenced a 41-year-old man to 18 years of incarceration after he was convicted of drug trafficking charges involving accusations that he conspired to bring heroin into the country from Ghana. His time in prison will be followed by supervised release for another 60 months after his release. The court also mandated the forfeiture of $110,000, which was said to be illegal drug proceeds.
The conviction occurred after a trial that went on for three days. Prosecutors claimed that the defendant was a leader of a group in Ghana, and that he was involved in smuggling drugs into the U.S. The group purportedly dispatched drug couriers into the country aboard commercial air flights. Those flights frequently landed at Dulles International Airport as well as elsewhere. The smugglers allegedly paid off officials at the airport in Ghana to make sure that the couriers were not delayed or prevented from getting on the planes with the narcotics.
Eleven other accused members of the drug trafficking operation were previously convicted. Three of them pleaded guilty, and a fourth was convicted after trial and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The investigation involved agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security and law enforcement authorities from Ghana.
Some of the defendants were arrested in Ghana and then extradited to the U.S., while others were arrested in Virginia or elsewhere in the United States. Drug charges frequently result in lengthy sentences and stiff fines. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is vital in ensuring that a defendant is well prepared for their trial. Having a viable defense where every possible avenue is explored can make a big difference in the outcome of a drug trafficking case.
Source: U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia, "Leader Of Ghanaian Heroin Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 216 Months" No Author Given, May. 05, 2013