Our firm handles criminal defense, family law, personal injury and more for Arkansas clients.

Drug crimes investigations: Broader conspiracy concerns

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Navigating the complexities of being under criminal investigation is inherently stressful. If you are currently under investigation and your situation involves allegations of drug crimes within the framework of a larger conspiracy, you are likely feeling overwhelmed. Not only could your circumstances change your life for the worse, but they’re likely so complex that they’re tough to understand.

Very likely, a good way to start researching your rights and options involves understanding the broad strokes of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Initially designed to combat the Mafia and other organized crime groups, RICO has since broadened its reach, becoming a powerful tool for prosecutors in cases involving a wide array of criminal enterprises, including those related to drug trafficking and distribution.

Why does RICO matter?

RICO allows for the prosecution of individuals who have allegedly engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity as part of an enterprise that affects interstate or foreign commerce. Racketeering activity encompasses a variety of crimes, including drug crimes. This means that if you are accused of committing two or more such offenses within 10 years, you could potentially face charges under RICO, in addition to charges for the underlying crimes. This is a potentially consequential concern because a conviction under RICO risks severe penalties.

RICO focuses on patterns of criminal activity within an organization, rather than on isolated incidents. This approach allows prosecutors to target not only those who directly commit crimes but also individuals in leadership positions who order or assist in the commission of those crimes. For someone under investigation, this means that even if your involvement in the drug trade is peripheral or indirect, you could still find yourself facing serious charges if you are considered part of a criminal enterprise.

Moving forward

It’s important to understand that being under investigation does not automatically mean you will be charged or convicted. Yet, given the severe potential consequences of a drug crime and/or RICO conviction, it is essential to seek legal guidance even though you have yet to be charged with wrongdoing. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights and develop a defense strategy personalized to reflect the specific circumstances of your case.