FedEx Inspires Questions Regarding Drug-Crime Defenses

FedEx Inspires Questions Regarding Drug-Crime Defenses

Posted By: Arata Swingle Van Egmond & Goodwin on Apr 22, 2015

The American global courier giant FedEx Corporation is under fire for transporting illegal prescription drugs. Since 2004, the carrier company has received warnings from government officials about shipping and delivering pharmaceuticals ordered online, with these warnings allegedly going mostly unanswered or ignored.

In July 2014, the Justice Department filed an indictment against the company, charging them with misbranding drugs, conspiracy to distribute misbranded drugs, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, as well as distribution of controlled substances.

In August, a superseding indictment was filed with the Justice Department alleging that FedEx was fully aware that payments from certain pharmacies were due to invalid or illegal prescriptions. FedEx was charged with conspiracy to launder money.

Not surprisingly, FedEx pleaded not guilty to all charges. In late March 2015, the organization filed a motion asking that the Justice Department’s charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances be dismissed.

FedEx argues that they are legally protected in the United States as they are a company that carries goods for the public.

Common Carrier Defense Vs. Distribution and Trafficking

This case has raised many questions in regards to what is a common carrier (and why they are exempt from potentially being considered drug traffickers), and what is a drug trafficker or distributor.

  • Common Carrier: A common carrier is an individual or company that transports goods or other people for a person or a company. While responsible for the loss of any goods throughout the course of transport, they generally are not responsible for whether or not the contents are legal.
  • Drug Distribution: Someone who is charged for distributing drugs is one who has been accused of selling, delivering, or in any way providing others controlled substances illegally.
  • Drug Trafficking: One will be charged with trafficking if they are illegally selling or distributing a controlled substance. While similar to distribution, trafficking charges typically rely on the amount of drugs involved

How Are Penalties for Drug Trafficking Determined?

If FedEx Corporation is found guilty of the above charges, the US attorney’s office has estimated that the company could be facing penalties to the tune of $1.6 billion (or twice the revenue gained by engaging in the shipment of illegal prescription medications).

For most individuals, the fines will be dependent on a variety of factors:

  • The criminal history of the defendant
  • The type of substance involved
  • The amount of substance involved
  • Where the defendant was apprehended (i.e. bringing drugs in from another country versus distributing for sale in a rough part of the city)

Protecting Yourself from Drug Convictions

Some cases may be cut and dry, but we at Central Valley Law Firm know first hand that most drug convictions are loaded with untold history and are frequently mishandled by one or more parties involved.

We offer free initial consultations to individuals accused of drug-related activities so that they fully understand their lawful rights and are best protected to move forward in their case. Our attorneys welcome your call today at (209) 522-2211.