Drug crimes, like most crimes, vary in the range of their severity. They can be misdemeanors, such as lesser crimes like simple possession, or they can be felonies, which include more serious crimes such as intent to distribute. Penalties vary according to the nature of the crime. Felonies carry mandatory prison sentences and fines that can be significant depending on the type of offense. Perhaps the most serious drug charge in Maryland is that of a "drug kingpin," who according to Maryland Code is someone who is an organizer, financier or manager who acts as a co-conspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, dispense, transport or distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
A drug kingpin is charged with committing a felony and if convicted must be given at least 20 years in prison and no more than 40 years, without the possibility of parole. There can also be a fine of up to $1,000,000. In some situations, it is possible to receive both the prison sentence and the fine.
Two Maryland men have been charged as drug kingpins after a six-month investigation by a joint task force led to their arrest. Arrested during a traffic stop, they are suspected of being involved in large scale distribution of heroin. According to the authorities, in the traffic stop more than 1,000 grams of cocaine was recovered from the vehicle and various residences were also searched to recover more drugs, money and weapons.
As is evidenced by the potential serious consequences, drug charges should be taken seriously. The penalties have the ability to land a person in prison for a major chunk of their life and drain their resources. Although taking the case to trial is always one possibility to protect rights, it is also possible to come to other agreements in the face of serious criminal charges.
Source: Fox 43, "Two Maryland men charged as drug kingpins," Howard Sheppard, Sept. 15, 2016