Trafficking Marijuana at the Atlanta Airport

If you are arrested for marijuana at the Atlanta airport, your case will likely be prosecuted in Clayton County Superior Court. The penalties you could possibly face if convicted depend on how much marijuana you have with you at the time of your arrest.

Georgia regulates marijuana through the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and O.C.G.A. §16-13-1(a)(1) says that marijuana is a controlled substance. The Georgia codes that specifically regulates marijuana crimes are O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) and O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31(c). The statutes say that “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, have under his or her control, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, purchase, sell, or possess with intent to distribute marijuana”. The penalties an individual faces for possessing marijuana at the Atlanta airport depend on the quantity of marijuana and could range from a simple fine to up to 15 years in prison.

If you are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail. If you are caught with more than an ounce but less than 10 pounds of marijuana, you face a felony conviction and 1-10 years in prison.

However, for the higher amounts often intercepted at the airport, the penalties are severe. If you possess marijuana in excess of 10 pounds, you will be charged with trafficking marijuana and the penalties depend on the amount you possess:

  • If you are arrested with 10-2,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with 2,000-10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

As you can see, the penalties for trafficking marijuana at the Atlanta airport are steep. It is important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are charged with this offense. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced at defending these types of crimes and will work tirelessly to discover defenses in your case and protect you from these severe punishments. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

What to do if you are arrested for marijuana trafficking at the airport ?

Imagine you have just flown into Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. You get off the plane and proceed to baggage claim. After you grab your bag, you are approached by several people who identify themselves as law enforcement. They ask to search your luggage and you agree. A search reveals a large quantity of marijuana and you have no idea how it got in your bag. You are now facing marijuana trafficking charges in Clayton County, Georgia.

Trafficking marijuana is defined as selling, manufacturing, growing, delivering, or possessing more than 10 pounds or marijuana. If the amount of marijuana is greater than 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds, the law requires a mandatory minimum 5 year prison sentence plus a $100,000 fine. If the quantity involved is greater than 2,000 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds, there is a 7 year mandatory minimum prison sentence plus a $250,000 fine. Finally, if the quantity of marijuana is greater than 10,000 pounds, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least 15 years as well as a fine of $1,000,000.

Although the above sentences are described as “mandatory minimum prison” sentences, there are a few limited ways in which someone convicted of marijuana trafficking may be sentenced to less prison time than what is required by the mandatory minimums: (1) If the defendant provides “substantial assistance” to the government in identifying, arresting, and/or convicting other people involved in the drug conspiracy, the prosecutor may move the court to reduce or suspend part or all of the defendant’s sentence; (2) by agreement of the parties through a “negotiated plea”; or (3) the judge may depart from these mandatory minimums if certain mitigating factors exist (no prior felonies, no firearm used, defendant not head of conspiracy, nobody was injured as a result of criminal conduct, or if the interests of justice would not be served by imposing a mandatory minimum sentence).

Clayton County

If you have been arrested in Clayton County for marijuana trafficking at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, the first and most important step is getting a bond. Only a superior court judge may set bail on a trafficking charge. When considering whether to grant a bond the judge analyzes four factors, whether the defendant is a significant risk of:

  1. Fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court
  2. Posing a threat or danger to any person
  3. Committing a felony while on pre-trial release
  4. Intimidating witnesses

Our firm can get the prosecutor to consent to a bond in the case if you have ties to the community and meet the above factors. In Clayton County, bonds for trafficking range from $50,000 up to $125,000. The judge may also impose non-monetary restrictions (house arrest, no contact provisions, GPS ankle monitor, curfew, etc.). There is always the possibility, however, that a judge will deny setting a bond in the case, even if the bond was consented to. If the prosecutor will not agree to a bond, then the defendant will have to go before the judge and offer evidence of defendant’s ties to the communities (length of residence, family ties, employment status and history, history of responding to legal process – failure to appears or probation violations, lack of criminal history).

If a bond is granted, the next step is fighting the case. Once all the evidence is gathered through the discovery process and our firm’s own independent investigation, we then speak with the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office in an attempt to discuss a resolution. IF a resolution cannot be reached, then we will schedule the case for a motions hearing and jury trial.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested for drug trafficking, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today.

 

Marijuana Trafficking at the Atlanta Airport

News reports of airline travel being back to 90 percent of pre-covid flying will lead to more scrutiny at the airport for passengers flying into Atlanta’ s airport.  Atlanta has the world’s largest airport: Jackson-Hartsfield International Airport.  In a discussion I had with a DEA agent, he told me on every flight from California, Arizona, and Colorado there will be a passenger on the flight with a large amount of trafficking marijuana.  Even though Marijuana is legal in some states, it is still illegal in Georgia.  If you get stopped by Clayton County, Drug Enforcement Agents or Atlanta Police, and you are found to be carrying greater than ten pounds of marijuana in your luggage you will be arrested for Marijuana Trafficking and taken to the Clayton County Jail.  In all cases, the first appearance judge will deny you a bond.  On every case our firm has been hired to assist couriers charged with marijuana trafficking in Atlanta, we have been able to get the client a bond in Clayton County.  In order to get a bond, you need to acquire copies of the warrants and incident reports.  The state’s prosecutor in Clayton County will want to run the subject’s criminal history.  Once those items are acquired, you can get a consent bond and bond out of jail.  It is also helpful if the person traveling has money (shows they are a courier and not seller), they fly very infrequently and they were cooperative to law enforcement.  However, people flying should never consent to a search of their luggage, as consent is voluntary and nobody should be subject to search of their person or personal effects such as luggage without a warrant.  If you or a loved one gets charged with marijuana trafficking at the Atlanta Airport, please do not hesitate to call our law office so we can assist with representation.  Our phone number is 404-581-0999.

Airport Marijuana Trafficking

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in the world. Thousands of travelers pass through every day for business and pleasure alike. It is a hub for nearly every major airline, flying passengers to the four corners of the world.

On High Alert for Drugs

Due to the high volume of flights and passengers, airport security, TSA agents, FBI Agents, Clayton County Police Department, Atlanta Police Department and the US Drug Enforcement Agency are trained to spot and act quickly on any suspected criminal behavior. We often get calls regarding drugs or weapons found in passengers’ luggage. Marijuana charges and in particular trafficking in marijuana are incredibly common at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, especially from flights out of Arizona, California and Colorado.

What Happens To My Bag?

Your bag that contains marijuana is brought from underneath the plane and directed to baggage claim at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While you exit and make your way to the next terminal or to pick up your bags, the luggage is subjected to a K-9 Unit search. Courts have continually determined that using canines at the airport is lawful, and their actions are not considered searches under the 14th Amendment (United States v. Place) as long as the bag is not opened or searched before the dog alerts on the luggage. Law enforcement have probable cause to search your bag if a dog alerts the agent that marijuana is present. Once they find the drugs, they will detain you and likely charge you with trafficking marijuana.

Where Will My Case Be?

If you are charged, you will be sent to the Clayton County Jail, and the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office will handle your prosecution in Superior Court. At this point, it is imperative that you seek out representation to move forward and get out of jail quickly. We have years of experience in Clayton County handling various charges, including those involving incidents at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport.  Recently we have been very successful in arranging a bond on Trafficking at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Call us today for your free consultation at 404-581-0999. We will hear the details of your case and provide you with legal advice that could save your freedom.

Marijuana at Atlanta Airport

We are one of the top criminal defense law firms in Atlanta.  Our firm defends individuals arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta Airport) charged with Trafficking Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute

Who arrests me at the airport?

The majority of the time someone is arrested in Atlanta after landing the flights are from California to Atlanta, but we have seen flights into Atlanta from all fifty states and other countries.  The law enforcement agencies involved include the Federal Bureau of investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Atlanta Police Department.  The cases usually do not get referred to Federal Court for prosecution but rather get sent to Clayton County Superior Court. 

What will happen after my arrest?

Once arrested for Marijuana Trafficking in Atlanta’s airport the traveler gets taken to the Clayton County Jail located at 9157 Tara Blvd, Jonesboro, Georgia 30236.  The person traveling with large amounts of marijuana through the airport will have bond initially denied.  It takes our law firm approximately two weeks to get an individual on a calendar for bond.  The bond amount depends on the criminal history and the amount of the marijuana.  We have never had a client with just marijuana, no matter the amount of marijuana, denied bond.  Recently we have been able to get clients’ bonds in the amounts ranging from $45,000 – $60,000 for marijuana trafficking through the airport. 

What should I do if approached?

As a reminder, if you are approached by law enforcement in the Atlanta airport be prepared to follow some simple directions. 

  1. Remain calm and always be polite. Assume you are being recorded. Start your own telephone’s audio recording function.
  2. Prepare to hand the officer your driver’s license and your luggage receipt.
  3. You are never required to answer questions. You should respectfully decline and ask for an attorney.
  4. You should decline a consensual search of your luggage. You never know what someone has put in your luggage.
  5. You are free to leave unless you have been detained or placed under arrest.  You are allowed to politely ask the officer if you can leave the airport.
  6. Call us immediately upon being arrested, no matter the time, night or day. 404-581-0999