Mississippi, Drug Trafficking and the Fallout of “Operation Pilluted”

Let’s get some facts straight right away: drug trafficking is to selling drugs what the ocean is to a kiddie pool. The Federal government has grown and sold marijuana in Mississippi for years, and a recent ballot initiative may actually legalize it; but right now if you’re charged with and convicted of selling an ounce of marijuana in Mississippi (a little less than 30 grams) you’re looking at 3 years in state prison and a $3,000 fine. If you’re charged with and convicted of trafficking marijuana, you’re looking at potential life imprisonment in a federal penitentiary and millions of dollars in fines. Those numbers can increase if you are part of a group of traffickers – or a member of a cartel or “drug ring” – also charged with manufacturing, cultivating or distributing the drugs.

While no self-respecting person could say that America is winning the war on drugs, that hasn’t stopped local, state and federal government officials from trying. This past May, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency DEA) busted a prescription drug ring operating in 4 states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas. Dubbed “Operation Pilluted,” the bust encompassed 15 months’ worth of work and led to the arrests of close to 300 people – including 22 doctors and pharmacists – across the four states. According to WJTV.com, “law enforcement officers were able to confiscate oxycodone, hydrocodone, and xanax

[sic].”

Drugs like Xanax are Schedule IV controlled substances, which carry lesser fines and penalties, but both oxycodone and hydrocodone are Schedule II controlled substances, and carry significant sentences.

Law enforcement is looking for a bust

“Operation Pilluted” was a real feather in the caps of the state and federal law enforcement officers involved – and if we criminal defense lawyers have learned anything over the years, it’s that once a cop gets a big bust like that, he’s going to keep looking for more. That means Mississippi is on the radar of the feds, and that local police will be extra vigilant.

So if you are facing charges of drug trafficking – whether it’s marijuana, cocaine, OxyContin or meth – keep these things in mind:

  • You have the right to remain silent. Keep your mouth shut no matter what. Don’t answer any question a law enforcement official asks you, even if it’s as simple as “Do you want a cup of coffee?” Once you start speaking, any rights to silence you have are overruled because you opened up.
  • Get a lawyer. Let us do the talking for you, if there is talking to be done.
  • Stay off social media in the days after you are questioned. Police can’t hold you if they don’t arrest you, which means you might find yourself at home after being questioned. If you do, stay away from your social media: no Facebook, no tweeting, no anything. Play it close to the vest, and talk only with your lawyer about the impending case.

Trafficking charges are challenging for even experienced lawyers like us. Enhancements only add to the dangers you face, and a conviction can literally ruin your life. Get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer you trust to find out more. We invite you to contact Taylor Jones Taylor any time to talk to a Mississippi attorney who knows how to handle federal cases.

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