The Canadian County Sheriff's Department pulled over a vehicle transport tractor trailer when deputies noticed the driver swerving along I-40 in El Reno, Oklahoma. In the stop, deputies asked to search one of the vehicles, a 1988 Chevy Blazer en route from California to Georgia. According to Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West, deputies discovered 50 packages of hydroponic marijuana weighing approximately 100 pounds and having a street value of $500,000 in the vehicle. The driver of the tractor trailer appeared to have no knowledge of drugs hidden in one of the vehicles he was transporting, and he was released without any charges. In Oklahoma, possession of 25 pounds or more of marijuana is enough to trigger drug trafficking charges under the Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act. Trafficking in 25 pounds or more of marijuana "or substance containing a detectable amount of marihuana" is punishable by a fine of $25,000 to $100,000. If the amount is 1000 pounds or more, the offense is deemed aggravated trafficking, and the fine is $100,000 to $500,000. Prison sentences for drug trafficking are often quite extensive. While drug distribution charges may have minimum sentences of 2 years in prison, depending on the specific offense, the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act stipulates that minimum sentences are double or even triple the minimum sentences for distribution under 63 O.S. 2-401. On the first trafficking offense, the minimum sentence is twice that of distribution. On the second trafficking offense, it is three times the minimum for distribution. Those who commit a drug trafficking offense as a third or subsequent felony drug offense are subject to life in prison without parole (LWOP). Aggravated drug trafficking is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. Furthermore, aggravated trafficking is one of Oklahoma's 85 percent crimes, which means that anyone convicted must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. If you are convicted of aggravated drug trafficking in Oklahoma, you will serve a minimum of nearly 13 years before you have even the possibility of being paroled. Of course, the federal government has its own drug trafficking laws for drug crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the United States government. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), marijuana trafficking penalties are as follows:
- Less than 50 kg marijuana or 1 to 49 plants: maximum of 5 years in prison on the first offense; maximum of 10 years in prison on the second offense.
- 50 to 99 kg marijuana or 50 to 99 plants: maximum of 20 years in prison on the first offense; maximum of 30 years in prison on the second offense
- 100 to 999 kg marijuana or 100 to 999 plants: minimum of 5 years in prison with a maximum of 40 years on the first offense; minimum of 10 years in prison with a maximum of life on the second offense
- 1,000 kg marijana or more or 1,000 or more plants: 10 years to life in prison on the first offense; 20 years to life in prison upon the second offense