Drug Tunnel Drivers Face Charges of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana (CA Health and Safety Code 11351 – 11352)

Although it may be surprising to many that there was a lengthy tunnel found between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, it is actually the 8th one to have been discovered in the city in the past 7 years.  This one in particular was used for the transportation of cocaine and marijuana.  In fact, authorities confiscated 327 pounds of cocaine and 8 ½ tons of marijuana during their exploration and is elaborately designed, including railways and a maze of connected warehouses covering an area about the size of 6 football fields. Three men were arrested in conjunction with the tunnel operations. Though they seem to have been involved only as drivers, they may still be looking at 10 years to life in prison on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana (CA Health and Safety Code 11351 and 11352).

Simply possessing illegal narcotics is, of course, a crime in the state of California.  However, it is a much more serious matter to be charged with the intent to distribute.  How do prosecutors and law enforcement officials decide when to charge possession for sale?  There are number of factors that they consider, including: how much of a particular illegal substance is found, whether or not there are materials (like scales) for weighing out quantities, and whether or not they find baggies or other means of packaging the substances. Possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of selling is always considered a felony.  You may be sentenced to anywhere from 1 year in county jail to 4 years in state prison (or more, depending on the quantity and the number of charges against you). The three men involved in this case were charged with possession and intent to distribute two separate controlled substances, marijuana and cocaine, and thus the penalties will be harsher.