On September 19, 2012, a Sacramento man was sentenced to 240 months in District Court for two counts of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute at least five kilos of cocaine. He was sentenced to 120 months for money laundering which shall be served concurrently with the 240 months on the first two counts. There is a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed in any federal case involving more than five kilos of cocaine. If the defendant has a prior drug trafficking conviction, an additional ten years can be imposed. It is unclear from the court records whether or not the defendant had a prior drug conviction. However, the federal sentencing guidelines call for 121-month sentence for 5 kilos of cocaine so it appears that he did have a prior conviction. The defendant, in this case, was shipping cocaine in vans from California to Alaska. The interstate nature of the offense is the primary reason this case was filed in federal court rather than state court. However, the quantity of the cocaine is another reason that the DEA would become involved in an investigation of this nature. The defendant then used more than $100,000 in drug money to purchase and remodel a duplex in Sacramento. This is the basis of the money laundering charge. The defendant enlisted the help of family members in the commission of the offense. One of the family members pleaded guilty to what is commonly known as a “phone count” which is the use of a telephone in a drug transaction. This offense carries a maximum of four years in federal prison and is often the best resolution for a member of a drug conspiracy case. This does not mean the individual will be sentenced to 4 years. In fact, these individuals are usually sentenced to very little time, if any. If you or a loved one have been charged with or are under investigation for a federal crime, please contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass.