Trafficking of a Controlled Substance in Michigan


The entire narcotics industry depends on the movement of controlled substances from their source of manufacture to the user’s hand. Often, this involves complex transportation and smuggling routes, countless middlemen, and innumerable drug trafficking methods. As such, both federal agents and Michigan law enforcement are adamant about curbing the drug trade by catching and prosecuting traffickers.

Trafficking of a controlled substance is, therefore, a very serious charge, defined by mandatory minimum sentences and years behind bars. If you or a loved one is facing a drug trafficking charge, it is critical to contact an experienced and well-versed federal drug attorney as soon as possible.

At Grabel & Associates, we have successfully defended many clients charged with the trafficking of controlled substances in both state and federal courts, and we boast the resources and aggressive defense strategies to provide a comprehensive, full-service criminal defense.

Overview of Drug Trafficking Charges

As a controlled substance violation, both federal and Michigan state laws define drug trafficking. The potential penalties for drug trafficking depend on many factors, such as the quantities of controlled substances involved and any other crimes that occurred during the alleged trafficking. Other factors that may determine the severity of a trafficking charge may include:

  • The location of the alleged crime(s), such as around a school or near children
  • Whether the alleged drug trafficking crime(s) involved minors
  • If the defendant was carrying a gun while trafficking controlled substances
  • Whether the alleged trafficking led to serious injury or death
  • Whether the alleged trafficking led to other crimes

It is important to remember that drug trafficking includes more than your “standard” narcotics, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and so forth. Unlawfully trafficking any controlled substance (from Schedule I to Schedule V) can result in drug trafficking charges.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking Charges

In Michigan, the trafficking of a controlled substance is a felony punishable by years of imprisonment and massive fines. Furthermore, due to the state’s efforts to eradicate illicit narcotic markets, individuals charged with trafficking are facing some of the most severe penalties available. If the alleged crime involved federal agents, such as the DEA, FBI, or ATF, then the defendant may be prosecuted under federal statutes. Federal drug trafficking charges carry even higher penalties.

Some of the penalties for the trafficking of controlled substances include:

  • Imprisonment — Even for first-time offenders, controlled substance traffickers may receive a mandatory minimum sentence ranging from a year (for Schedule V substances) to over five years (for Schedule I and II substances, for example).
  • Fines — Some federal drug trafficking convictions carry fines as high as $10 million.
  • Probation — Probation is possible in some trafficking cases. However, it is usually only available in a plea bargain where the defendant agrees to plead guilty on a lesser crime. Probation can last from 12-36 months on both the state and federal levels.

In terms of imprisonment, the length of the imprisonment depends on the Schedule and the quantity, as well as many other factors. To give you a basic idea of the sentencing guidelines for controlled substance trafficking charges, we’ve included a list of DEA guidelines below:

  • Trafficking 500 to 4,999 grams of cocaine, 100 to 999 grams of heroin, one to nine grams of LSD, or five to 49 grams of pure methamphetamine can result in minimal imprisonment of five years but no more than 40 years. If death or serious injury occurred, then you may face a minimum of 20 years but not more than life.
  • Trafficking any amount of any Schedule I or II drug can result in no more than 20 years imprisonment.
  • Trafficking more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana can result in no less than 10 years imprisonment or no more than life.

Second and subsequent drug trafficking convictions increase both the mandatory minimum and maximum sentences. If an individual is charged with trafficking Schedule I or II narcotics for the third or fourth time, for example, he/she may face life in prison and fines of no more than $20 million if an individual ($75 million if not an individual).

Getting the Help of a Michigan Drug Trafficking Attorney

Whether you are under investigation for trafficking, or you were arrested for trafficking, the first thing you need to do is contact a highly experienced Michigan drug trafficking attorney as soon as possible. Remember, because trafficking of controlled substances carries massive penalties and the possibility of years behind bars, your choice of a criminal defense attorney may be one of the most important decisions in your life.

At Grabel & Associates, we’ve successfully represented many individuals charged with the trafficking of controlled substances. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a not-guilty conviction or dropped charges, and some of our leading defense strategies may include, but are not limited to:

  • Rigorously challenging the prosecution’s narrative, evidence, and witness testimonies
  • Presenting an entrapment defense
  • Providing a thorough cross-examination of confidential informants to expose possible self-serving motives or incredibility
  • Fighting for reduced or alternative sentencing (if the evidence is truly, objectively stacked against our client)

Contact Grabel & Associates Today

Trafficking of a controlled substance is a very serious charge in Michigan, and prosecutors will employ a huge network of resources as well as effort and aggressive tactics to convict suspected individuals. For this reason, you need an equally potent crew of high-profile drug trafficking attorneys to provide an industry-leading defense.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with the drug crimes attorneys at Grabel & Associates, contact our Lansing, MI law office today at 1-800-342-7896. Emergency consultations are available 24/7.


With Attorney's statewide, Grabel & Associates defend people accused of criminal charges throughout the state of Michigan including the communities of Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Pinconning, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Bay City, Saginaw, Brant, Traverse City, Ludington, Allegan, Hillsdale, Lapeer, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.