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Can you be charged with marijuana possession after death threat?

While Montgomery County police and prosecutors portray criminal drug activity as a black and white, guilty or not guilty incident, there are often mitigating circumstances that can change how a suspect is prosecuted or tried. For example, prosecutors are trying to figure out what to do with a man who has been criminally charged after being caught with marijuana, despite his insistence that he was only transporting the drug because he had received a death threat.

The man was originally found by police walking along the beach near a 21-foot boat. When asked about the boat, he eventually told officers that he had been threatened by a creditor and told that if he didn't deliver drugs to the United States, he would be killed. After receiving the death threat, the man allegedly piloted the boat containing 193.6 kilograms of marijuana divided among 74 packages to the American coast.

Throughout the journey, he said was tailed by a Donzi go-fast boat that was piloted by two men who were working with the creditor. As the suspect approached the shore, however, the Donzi supposedly turned around and he met two men on the beach. When they asked him to throw the marijuana over a seawall, the man fled. It was only later while he walking near the beach that he was caught with the marijuana.

This case reminds us all that a Maryland drug crime is not always as simple as it may first seem. That is why it is extremely important to work with a drug charges attorney who understands how complex a transaction may be and the consequences of being forced into a drug crime.

What do you think? Should someone who would otherwise be killed be convicted of marijuana trafficking?

Source: The Palm Beach Post News, "Man tells authorities he was forced to import drugs or face death," Alexandra Selzter, April 12, 2012

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