You may be happy to live in a state that has legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. You may even sell a little to friends and family. However, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin, likely to be abused and with no credible medical use.

If you are not a United States citizen, even if you have some form of legal status, like permanent residence, non-immigrant visa, or DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals), consuming marijuana even recreationally can lead to your deportation. Federal law still considers marijuana a schedule I drug, and federal law applies to immigration law, not state law. Consulting with a criminal-immigration lawyer is vital to ensuring a marijuana offense does not lead to your removal.

Federal agents could descend on your home and arrest you for drug cultivation even though, in Arizona, you are permitted to grow six plants for your use or cultivate it under a state-authorized license. A knowledgeable attorney could build a defense for marijuana and other federal drug charges. Contact a Mesa federal drug attorney when investigators are targeting you.

State High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA)

The federal government has identified areas and counties in all 50 states and Puerto Rico as regions with high rates of drug trafficking. Law enforcement has stepped up efforts to arrest those caught for drug crimes. Arizona’s HIDTA is an arrival zone for multiple tons of marijuana and methamphetamine from Mexico and smaller quantities of cocaine and heroin. State HIDTAs include several counties. The entire Mexican border in Arizona is a HIDTA. When an individual is caught up in a federal drug sting as an innocent bystander or with some responsibility, a Mesa defense lawyer could advise a person about their rights and defend against federal drug charges.

Federal Drug Schedules

Title 21 of the United States Code describes the five schedules used to determine a federal drug crime’s severity. Schedule I drugs are likely to be abused and have no medical benefits. This schedule includes fentanyl, heroin, and LSD. Schedule II drugs are widely abused and addictive but have some medical benefits. Cocaine and morphine are Schedule II drugs. Schedule III drugs are less addictive and abused than Schedule II drugs and have accepted medical uses. Schedule IV drugs are sometimes abused but have many medical benefits. Schedule V drugs have many medical uses and are largely not abused, with limited consequences if they are.

Federal Drug Crimes

Drug trafficking is an ongoing criminal enterprise that can include cultivating, selling, transporting, and distributing large quantities of illicit drugs. A person convicted of drug trafficking in federal court could spend up to 40 years in prison or face deportation.

The prosecutor will consider criminal history, the type and weight of drugs confiscated, whether they recovered paraphernalia, whether an individual sold the drugs near a school or playground, whether a person crossed state borders, and whether anyone was hurt or killed because of the enterprise. When determining a sentence, the prosecutor also takes into account your role in the offense, whether you quickly accept responsibility, and whether there other aggravating factors like, guns and weapons. Along with trafficking and cultivation, other drug crimes include:

  • Drug importation or crossing state lines or international borders to bring drugs to a specific location
  • Drug manufacturing includes preparing and producing illegal drugs for sale to an end user, such as growing marijuana, possessing lab equipment with the intent to manufacture drugs, and running a methamphetamine lab
  • Drug possession can be prosecuted in federal court depending on the amount of drugs found and how they have been transported and distributed
  • Drug smuggling is often part of a conspiracy charge where at least two people confer to move drugs from one location to another with the intent to sell or distribute

Federal drug convictions are life changing. A person could spend decades in prison with little to no chance of probation or parole. A court will fine an individual and deport them if they are a documented or undocumented immigrant. If a person is not a U.S. citizen, a drug conviction will almost guarantee deportation and the government will permanently bar them from applying to reenter the country lawfully. Before your life spirals out of control over a mistake or rash decision, talk to a federal drug attorney in Mesa.

Defenses to Federal Drug Charges

An indictment and a trial do not indicate guilt or what a jury will decide. Everyone has a right to present a defense. In many cases, over-zealous federal agents violate Fourth Amendment rights when arresting a person. They may entrap a person into a crime they would never have committed, or they may mistake an individual for someone else. Also, if the substance taken is not a drug, the prosecutor has lost a significant element defining the crime. A lawyer in Mesa could evaluate a federal drug charge an

Call a Mesa Federal Drug Attorney for Help Defending Criminal Charges

Our firm understands your excitement about immigrating to America to make a better life for your family. We understand because we have experienced it. Our team wants to help you stay and prosper, which will be impossible with a federal drug conviction. There are several charges and almost as many defenses, and we are familiar with all of them.

You may be caught unwittingly in an investigation because this area is a target for federal drug agents. When facing drug charges, you risk your freedom, possessions, and the ability to stay in your home. Our firm knows what to do. Call a Mesa federal drug lawyer to start building your defense.

Client Testimonials

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Thanks to the entire Rocha team who made it possible to achieve the goal of acquiring residence in the United States, giving us more than a service, they gave us hope and confidence to move forward, despite the inconveniences caused by a pandemic, they managed to adapt to all the restrictions in a professional way and revealing his extensive work experience in the end, everything has been reflected in favorable results for us.
Jonatan, Maricela
March 30th, 2023
We hired Juan Rocha back in 2015 for my husband seeking help with his immigration process and I honestly think the process would have been faster if my previous lawyer wouldn't have made the mistakes that he did (fired him) and I hired Juan Rocha, It defiantly was a process but he got it done, thanks to him my husband was able to see his parents and family after 15 years a day that my husband and I will forever hold in our hearts. Juan has a very special way of expelling things and he makes sure before you leave...
Millie Ruano
March 30th, 2023
On behalf of my family, we give appreciation and thanks to Mr. Rocha for assisting my husband to be allowed to join our family again. We were totally blindsided by the situation and when Mr. Rocha worked his magic for us, figured we wouldn't see my husband again, it was nothing less than magic to us! I have never had to deal with an attorney before so I was nervous but felt more at ease right away especially since Mr. Rocha either answered his own phone right away or was available to speak with when I called. This just made...
Juan Pedro & Doreen
July 12th, 2021

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Rocha Law Firm
Pin 406 W. 6th , Drive
Mesa, AZ 85210
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