What will happen to my friend for mailing marijuana? 33 Answers as of April 26, 2011

I have a friend who was recently mailed multiple pounds of marijuana. The package was sent to a fake name, but to his/her address. They then learned from FedEx that the package had been seized by authorities. Can this person be charged with anything if they do not receive the package? Can the authorities get a search warrant based on the fact that marijuana was sent to the address alone?

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Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP | Locke T. Clifford
Your friend can be prosecuted if the police and the district attorney want to investigate and can formulate enough evidence to get a magistrate to find probably cause to issue a warrant. The same is true for a search warrant. A magistrate could very easily find probable cause to issue a search warrant for the residence.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 4/26/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
They can both be charged but the evidence will be insufficient to convict either unless they have fingerprints, handwriting analysis, or admissions. About half or more of the people arrested confess or make admissions because they are unsophisticated, uneducated, and easily manipulated by the police. If people would simply call an attorney they would have a better chance of beating the charges or at least getting a better plea deal, but they are either too afraid of paying money or are unaware of their rights. The charges are federal and very serious. They could do serious time for mailing large amounts of marijuana due to the harsh federal sentencing guidelines.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/7/2011
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
I don't know what will happen. Neither do you, or your friend, because you don't know what evidence the police have. Your friend should talk to an attorney, and should refuse to talk to the police or consent to a search. Maybe they can get a warrant, but there's nothing you can do about it. Just don't make it worse.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/7/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Your friend is in a world of deep hurt. Not only has he or she possessed "multiple pounds of marijuana" he or she has now engaged in mail fraud and trafficing. When he or he deposited it into a FedEx drop - he or she has opened up a whole can of worms. This is now federal. Use of a plane or interstate shipping opens the case to the feds.

So, to answer your questions: Yes, your friend can (and most likely will) be charged. I suspect, based on what you have written here that fingerprints are on the package showing actual care custody and control, there may be saliva on the stamps, etc as well. FedEx facilities and mail drop locations have video surveillance cameras too.

The authorities can and do routinely search shipments. Every package is screened, it can and most do pass through scanners there can be random dog sniffs, etc. The Bill of Laiden signed by your friend specifically states that shipments are screened and that the person shipping agrees to the screening and swears and affirms nothing illegal is contained in the box. Finally, without knowing more details, it is impossible to say if the warrant can be quashed, but the simple answer to your question is yes, the authorities can get a search warrant based on the fact that marijuana (particularly if you consider the circumstances ("multiple pounds") would lead a reasonable person to believe that the shipment is not for personal consumption. I am licensed in both the Easter and Western Districts (Federal) for Texas and am pending admission to the Northern District (I just have to be sworn in). I also practice in Collin and Dallas Counties if this matter is charged on the State level and would be happy to discuss the facts, cost of representation, and possible defenses with your friend.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/7/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
The general answer is that anyone can always get charged with one thing or another. The real question is whether the police can prove their charges in Court.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Yes, authorities can probably get a warrant. One problem here is that your friend inquired about the package, apparently, though it was not addressed to him. Uh... how would he know to expect it, or that it hadn't arrived? That is a problem. I would need to know how your friend learned that the package had been seized by the authorities. Obviously, your friend should not admit anything to the police/Feds. He shouldconsult an attorney, including one who primarily practices Federal law. This could be prosecuted federally, which would be bad news for your friend. I do not know how the Feds found the marijuana (maybe a routine x-ray, or a drug dog), but it is important that your friend not admit anything. Otherwise, they could at least make a conspiracy charge out of the situation. Hopefully, your friend does not live alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Probably not if it was not addressed to your friend or any of his or her aliases. Especially if he or she has not taken control of the package. The package should not be brought into his or her home. Possession includes actual possession such as holding, transporting or using it. Possession also means constructive possession. The perfect example of this is when drugs are hidden in a center console in a car. While the person does not actually possess the dope, he or she constructively possesses the dope because he or she can exercise dominion or control over the weed. Whether or not it is actual or constructive possession, it makes no difference to the law. It is possessed. Your friend's best bet would be to not ask for the packages and make sure he or she is not part of a conspiracy to distribute drugs. Other than that, if he or she is arrested and had better remain silent. He or she must also ask for an attorney as soon as the cuffs go on. My contact numbers are below. If you friend is contacted by the police, he or she should call me.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Answer: Arrest, potential conviction and prison time. His defense will be to try to show ignorance of the transaction and no participation in the scheme.

    What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to not talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    There must be probable cause for a warrant to issue. Really, you have to comply with the warrant, and then after the fact, check the affidavit that supported the warrant to see if the warrant was not valid. If not valid, then the evidence is due to be suppressed. There a multiple issues based on your inquiry. He needs counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Mailing marijuana may be charged as a State or Federal offense. It may be charged as a Federal offense since Federal mail service was used. As a result, the offense may be extremely serious and, depending on the mount, may carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. Accordingly, hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney is critical.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This type of charge could be filed in Federal Court and or state court. You could expect jail time and fines for a conviction of this type.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Your friend may be prosecuted by either the local police or the federal government. The authorities could get a search warrant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    The answers to your questions are Yes and Yes. He can be charged with state and Federal ( if across state lines ) crimes of possession and intent to sell based on the large quantity and sale or attempted sale. These will be very serious charges. He should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The persons who either mailed or received the marihuana can and will likely be charged with felony possession of marihuana, conspiracy to possess, transport or distribution ofmarihuana, and probaly a charge for mailing prohibited substances through the US. mail. There could be state as well as federal charges. These types of charges almost always involve some prison time if the person is apprehended. Law enforcement, as well as postal inspectors, FBI, local law enforcement, etc., could request and secure a search warrant for the premises where the package was addressed. Additionally, banking records, phone records, travel records, and other records could be secured to determine if any other persons are involved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    If you are correct and several pounds of marijuana was shipped via FedEx your friend should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your friend can be looking at prosecution from both the state and federal authorities. With this information the police can get a search warrant on the address and may start to do surveillance of your friend. It is a very bad idea to ship illegal drugs through the mail. At this point the best thing to do is have your friend contact a qualified attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    It will ultimately be up to the local law enforcement agency who seized the package to determine whether or not it is worth pursuing charges against anyone involved. This case, as with any other, will ultimately be determined by the aggressiveness of the participating law enforcement agency and the willingness of the judge assigned to the case to cooperate with requests for search warrants. Internet searches on the issue do reveal, however that similar events have transpired in which charges have not been filed. The foregoing is not in any way intended to constitute legal advice. If you do seek further information with regard to this matter in Louisiana, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Yes, based on what you have described, that should be sufficient for the authorities to obtain a search warrant for your friend's home and/or car, and is certainly enough for the authorities to bring him/her in for questioning.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.
    Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. | Andrew R. Lynch
    The question of can they be charged is really is there probable cause he possessed the drugs. I would strongly argue no, that alone is not probable cause. There are two types of possession constructive and actual. The state could try and establish constructive possession by showing the home is possessed by you only or establishing some link from the sender to you. With regards to the search warrant, the legal question is whether or not there is probable cause to believe drugs are in the house. Nothing would stop the detective from knocking on your door and trying to get a consensual search. Whether or not there is probable cause you should assume the State is working on developing it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    Yes he can be charged and they probably can get a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    What will happen is a function of who seized the package (local police, or DEA), where the case will be prosecuted (state or federal court) and the quality of your friend's defense attorney. Can your friend be charged with conspiracy to traffic/distribute marijuana? Yes. Can the authorities get a search warrant based on the fact that the marijuana was mailed to the house? Yes. Should your friend expect that the authorities will have him under investigation? Yes. Your friend should also recognize that the fake name put police on notice that he is involved. Drug dealers do not ship drugs to the wrong address, because drugs are money. So, when the drugs arrive, they arrive at the correct address. The name on the package carries little weight, expect maybe with a jury. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You have asked very fact specific questions about a case in which neither you nor I have all the facts. Such situations are not uncommon and yes, you friend can be charged if the police believe the evidence is sufficient to tie him to the marijuana. If there is no evidence that any contraband was received however, it is unclear whether the police would seek or a judge would issue a search warrant of your friend's residence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    Your friend needs to get a lawyer - now. It is also imperative that your friend not talk to police - that will only make things worse. Depending on the situation, the friend could be charged with any number of things, including attempted possession of a controlled substance. If the police have done other investigation, that work, along with the package, *could* be enough to get a search warrant. Without knowing more, it is difficult to say whether or not they can get a warrant. But "several pounds" of marijuana is a serious offense, and your friend can't afford to waste any time.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Some of these questions require a very complex examination of the facts and law. I strongly encourage your friend to meet with a lawyer immediately to see if anything can be done at this point. There is certainly a strong risk your friend could be charged and an equally strong chance there could be a search, but it depends on many factors not included in your question.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    It is possible they could get a search warrant, may try to deliver the package and then make a search shortly thereafter. Need to refuse the package as not at that residence. I would get rid of any evidence of drug sales for at least the near future.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, I had the identical case in which the person used FedEx and mailed the packages to friends' homes and was eventually caught. Actually I had two such cases. In one, he did six years in jail, but the other got Probation. The difference was the first one was a major distributor of Marijuana and the other a lower level seller. Yes, they can get a warrant for the address. The fact that he used others names may not be of much use if it or many deliveries went to the same address and FedEx will have such records which can also be obtained by the police. I suggest your friend hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Yes. They can be charged with a state or federal charge. It is not uncommon for drug traff. to put a false name on packages. They should get an attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    If the police contact do not give a statement. Get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Depending on the weight, your friend could be charged with trafficking marijuana. Seeing that your friend used the mail, he or she could be charged in federal court. Federal drug charges are very serious.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I am a former federal and state prosecutor who now practices as a criminal defense attorney. It is vitally important that he should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Yes, a person can be charged even if a crime is not completed. In many cases, generally speaking, the government will charge conspiracy, along with various substantive offenses. Again, hire a lawyer ASAP to address what lies ahead. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes they can be charged and likely will be. It could be state felonies or federal, based on the shipping. Do not cooperate with authorities until you have your own attorney hired. This is a very serious matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/5/2011
    Benari Law Firm
    Benari Law Firm | Arik T. Benari
    Hello and thank you for your question. The police may very well use the siezed marijuana as evidence to obtain a search warrant or even to make an arrest. Your friend should contact a qualified defense attorney immediately. If he or she is in the greater Philadelphia region or south jersey, they may contact our office. If not, they should find an attorney in their jurisdictionwithout delay.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 4/5/2011
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