General Question

peekaboo's avatar

How bad does the government want to "get you" on drug charges?

Asked by peekaboo (12 points ) September 13th, 2009

I am aware that the summary of this question is convoluted, but it’s a question I often have. Federally, and in most states, marijuana is illegal. But if Seth Rogen goes on tv and talks about all the weed he’s going to smoke later on, nobody will give a shit and chances are the LAPD won’t show up at his door. If he tells a cop he’s going to smoke weed, the cop might search him. What about sending it through the mail? If I send my friend a bag of badly concealed herb—and it’s discovered in a routine postal service inspection—what are the chances the cops are going to show up at HIS door? How bad do they went to get us?

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12 Answers

deni's avatar

If you send your friend some weed in the mail and it gets discovered, I wouldn’t think they would go after him, I think they’d go after you. It came from you. For all they know, he didn’t even know about it. Right?

I battled with the notion of mailing some home when I was in California a few months ago, but I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Even though anybody I know who has mailed it has never had a problem, it just seems a little unnecessary and it would probably stress me out for a few days until it got safely to the destination.

I think it’s a shame though. They care way too much about weed. There’s more important things to be looking out for…rape, abuse, murder, SERIOUS DRUGS.

Kraigmo's avatar

Nobody is digging through mail looking for pot. Except sometimes. But if they find it… that’s a federal crime. That’s also interstate commerce. It’s a whole host of unique problems. The odds of getting busted mailing pot through UPS are far greater. The US Postal Service has strict privacy standards. Whereas UPS voluntarily participated Operation Green Merchant with the DEA. UPS even gave a list to the DEA of all the people who received hydroponics equipment. (Even though there’s nothing illegal or illegitimate about hydroponics equipment).

UPS and the DEA destroyed the lives of thousands of good people. So yah, it can get real bad, if you are dealing with feds hellbent on a nazilike crime fighting strategy.

Seth Rogan is in California, however, which has more logical laws than the federal government. He knows as long as he’s staying out of the DEA’s jurisdiction, then he’s likely to be fine.

That doesn’t mean the DEA can’t thug its way onto California’s jurisdiction. That happens all the time. But the odds are still low of being prosecuted federally, if you are just a Californian who enjoys marijuana. As long as you don’t mail the stuff.

Darwin's avatar

It depends on which cops are involved I would think. The postal inspectors take their jobs very seriously so if you mail something illegal and they find it, they will come talk to you definitely. I have occasionally had to turn someone in for mail fraud and they did get visits from authority.

But the LAPD or even the FBI can’t arrest you because you might commit a crime sometime in the future even if you say you are going to. Although the FBI might use what you say as an excuse to bug your phone. You might be joking or even lying.

If Rogan says he is going to smoke pot, that is perfectly legal. We do have freedom of speech. He hasn’t actually done it where there are reliable witnesses, and may not even have any in his possession. However, if he actually pulls some out of his pocket in front of a cop, that is solid evidence and an arrest will happen. Also, if he does something stupid in traffic to give the cops reasonable cause to search his car, he will be going to jail if he has pot in the car.

And then there are air marshalls, who react if you just say something wrong. They have no senses of humor.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

it’s like Catnip for the 5–0…

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

cop-nip, even….

Sarcasm's avatar

Well, first off, Obama is not pursuing those who break federal drug laws, so long as they are within state drug laws. An msnbc article about that.

So, really, it depends on your state.

Seth Rogen lives in California. In California, to get your 215 card (Named after the proposition 215 which allows medical marijuana). You find a Marijuana-friendly doctor, you tell him/her which one of these ailments you suffer from, you pay a fee ($200 I think) and you get a card allowing you to keep some with you.
At which point, you are perfectly free to flaunt the fact that you smoke weed.

I think sending illegal things through the mail is a massive extra fine, and I wouldn’t risk that at all if I were you, even though it’s very unlikely they’d search the package. Cops would probably show up at your house and your friend’s house, though.

I believe the big deal now is going after the dealers moreso than the buyers. I could be wrong, and of course it could vary by state.

Darwin's avatar

Sending illegal stuff through the mail falls into the purview of the U.S. Postal Inspectors (if you are in or mailing from the U.S.). They don’t like people to misuse the U.S. Mail, and they mean it. They aren’t the regular cops and they aren’t the F.B.I. or the A.T.F. or the D.E.A. They are their own agency but are part of Homeland Security.

They are quite zealous about their tasks, one of which is Dangerous Mail:

“Responsible for detecting and preventing prohibited mailings, mail bombs, and dangerous mail (inclusive of hazmat and weapons of mass destruction). Responsible for disaster preparedness, mail screening, continuation of operations program (COOP), continuation of government (COG), bio-terrorism and counterterrorism liaison.”

There are fines and imprisonment involved.

galileogirl's avatar

They don’t usually go after individuals unless they are really big guys but then they really go after them, Ask Manual Noriega who was taken prisoner in Panama in 1989 and tried in the US for drug trafficking in Panama. He has been held in an underground soitary confinement cell past his 2007 release date and if he is ever released France is waiting to try him for drug related money laundering, again in Panama. Beyond that Panama wants him for murder, I would say that was fairly serious.

Even in California if you get too big the feds are going to target you, A couple of brothers opened a wildly successful medical marijuana club in Oakland and cams under the scrutiny of the IRS-much scarier than the DEA. Now they are getting all their assets taken they will very likely spend a decade in Fed jail. A pot provider can find support in the community but nobody likes a tax cheat.

Kraigmo's avatar

From the San Antonio Express News today (9/14/09):
By Lynn Brezosky – SAEN

BROWNSVILLE — A 38-year-old Mission man was ordered held without bond Monday on charges he was part of an operation that sent more than 2,000 packages containing more than 3,600 pounds of marijuana through the U.S. mail.

Concepcion Gonzalez is one of six defendants named in a criminal complaint stemming from a 10-month investigation by the U.S. Postal Service. He was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

The investigation began when postal inspectors in McAllen noticed marijuana shipments they were seizing were similarly packaged with beans to make a rattling sound and similarly addressed with red or black markers. The marijuana inside was likewise similarly wrapped.

Inspectors reviewed post office videos, traced license plate numbers, and conducted surveillance on suspects before executing search warrants and making arrests.

The marijuana was bound for spots throughout the United States, with most headed for Connecticut, Puerto Rico, New York and Florida, inspectors say.

If convicted, Gonzalez faces a minimum of 10 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years in prison on the money laundering charge. A trial is set for Nov. 2.

deni's avatar

@Kraigmo 3600 pounds of marijuana? I cannot even begin to produce an image in my head. WWWWow.

Kraigmo's avatar

@deni Even if I was a dealer, which I’m not, there’s no way I’d ever get involved with that much contraband. Why would anyone want that kind of weight in their life? Well, riches and greed, right.

But the big lesson here: If one mails weed, do not enclose rattles or shakeable beans in the package.

bucko's avatar

You’re better off getting caught by a postal inspector than a local cop trying to get his name in the paper. The postal inspectors might be glorified mailmen, but they aren’t dumb, they take pictures of packages and labels that look suspicious and follow them to their destination. Sooner or later a red flag will go up at the post office and you’ll get a visit. At that point it all depends on how cool the postal inspector is and how much shit is in the box.

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