Drug trafficking or distribution is quite a different thing than simple possession. Accusations of trafficking or dealing drugs come with much more social stigma and far more serious criminal consequences than possession.
While many people question the criminality of drug possession, few people believe that any individual should be able to sell or dispense drugs to random strangers. Someone accused of trafficking or distribution will either have transported drugs or transferred them to another person.
Decades of prohibition policies for certain drugs, like heroin and marijuana, have aimed to curtail illegal drug trafficking in the United States with mixed results. Most people still report that they can access illegal drugs with minimal effort. There seems to be a constant supply despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies. How big of an issue is drug trafficking in Ohio?
There are millions of dollars of drugs sold illegally in Ohio each year
It’s impossible to know the exact scope of the unregulated market for prescription medication and prohibited drugs, but it involves millions of dollars each year. Even the small percentage of those involved in drug trafficking who get caught represent dozens of millions of dollars in product.
In 2020, Ohio law enforcement officers working for drug task forces charged 102 people with trafficking offenses. The drugs seized during those arrests included 168 pounds of methamphetamine, 135 pounds of cocaine, 87 pounds of fentanyl and eight pounds of heroin. The amount of marijuana seized dwarfed the other substances combined at a massive 3,117 pounds. Officers also reported seizing 106 firearms and more than $6,640,000 in cash.
Law enforcement successes are only the tip of the iceberg
The amount seized in such raids and enforcement efforts only represents what those individuals had on hand at the time of their arrest, not the full amount that they may have transferred or delivered in any given week.
Beyond that, there’s little question that for every person arrested for drug trafficking, there are several others who frequently distribute narcotic painkillers, illicitly obtained prescription medication and prohibited substances like marijuana who go unnoticed and uncaught.
Drug trafficking charges can often be felony offenses that carry years in jail and major fines, depending on the specific drugs involved and their overall weight. Those accused of trafficking, possibly because of someone else’s criminal activity, often need an aggressive defense to protect themselves from such serious consequences.