Criminal Law

Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, Trafficking, or Possession; Continuing Criminal Enterprise - Offenses Involving Drugs

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November 1, 2005GUIDELINES MANUAL§2D1.1

6. Where there are multiple transactions or multiple drug types, the quantities of drugs are to be added. Tables for making the necessary conversions are provided below.

7. Where a mandatory (statutory) minimum sentence applies, this mandatory minimum sentence may be "waived" and a lower sentence imposed (including a downward departure), as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 994(n), by reason of a defendant’s "substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense." See §5K1.1 (Substantial Assistance to Authorities). In addition, 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f) provides an exception to the applicability of mandatory minimum sentences in certain cases. See §5C1.2 (Limitation on Applicability of Statutory Minimum Sentences in Certain Cases).

8. A defendant who used special skills in the commission of the offense may be subject to an enhancement under §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill). Certain professionals often occupy essential positions in drug trafficking schemes. These professionals include doctors, pilots, boat captains, financiers, bankers, attorneys, chemists, accountants, and others whose special skill, trade, profession, or position may be used to significantly facilitate the commission of a drug offense.

Note, however, that if an adjustment from subsection (b)(2)(B) applies, do not apply §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

9. Trafficking in controlled substances, compounds, or mixtures of unusually high purity may warrant an upward departure, except in the case of PCP, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or oxycodone for which the guideline itself provides for the consideration of purity (see the footnote to the Drug Quantity Table). The purity of the controlled substance, particularly in the case of heroin, may be relevant in the sentencing process because it is probative of the defendant’s role or position in the chain of distribution. Since controlled substances are often diluted and combined with other substances as they pass down the chain of distribution, the fact that a defendant is in possession of unusually pure narcotics may indicate a prominent role in the criminal enterprise and proximity to the source of the drugs. As large quantities are normally associated with high purities, this factor is particularly relevant where smaller quantities are involved.

10. The Commission has used the sentences provided in, and equivalences derived from, the statute (21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)), as the primary basis for the guideline sentences. The statute, however, provides direction only for the more common controlled substances, i.e., heroin, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, fentanyl, LSD and marihuana. The Drug Equivalency Tables set forth below provide conversion factors for other substances, which the Drug Quantity Table refers to as "equivalents" of these drugs. For example, one gram of a substance containing oxymorphone, a Schedule I opiate, is to be treated as the equivalent of five kilograms of marihuana in applying the Drug Quantity Table.

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