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Continuing Criminal Enterprise

A “continuing criminal enterprise” is defined in 21 U.S.C. §848. This law is aimed at those who engage in drug trafficking on a continuing and substantial basis in a supervisory capacity. The government is required to prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a defendant of this crime:

  1. The defendant committed the underlying drug crime with which he was charged.
  2. The defendant took part in a series of three or more federal drug crimes. The series must have occurred in a definite period of time, and the crimes must be somehow related to each other. Proof of isolated acts will not satisfy this element, but the acts need not be mentioned in the indictment at all as long as the defendant intended to violate drug laws when he committed them.
  3. In the series of violations, the defendant acted in concert with five or more persons (who do not have to be named in the indictment). The government is not required to prove that all of these individuals acted together at the same time or that the defendant had the same relationship with each of them. These persons need not be identified by both first and last names. Even street names are enough, provided that five separate individuals are identified.
  4. The defendant organized, supervised, or managed these five or more people. The purpose of this element is to distinguish between employees of the criminal enterprise and those who manage and direct its activities. It is not necessary for the government to prove that the defendant was the only leader, and again, the defendant need not have the same kind of relationship with each of the people who he supervises. This element can be proven through evidence that the defendant instructed the others, negotiated large purchases, and made arrangements for money laundering.
  5. The defendant acquired substantial resources or income from the violations. The statute does not specify a minimum amount, but it is clear that no trivial amount will satisfy this element. The defendant’s gross income, anticipated or net profits, or extravagant spending with no apparent legitimate source may be considered.

For a first offense, Section 848 carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum sentence of life in prison. For a second offense, the mandatory minimum is 30 years.

Aggressive Federal Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Federal drug charges are extremely serious and require the representation of a skilled and experienced defense attorney. Stephen Neyman is a Massachusetts drug crimes defense lawyer who has more than two decades of experience to offer his clients. Attorney Neyman is well known in Boston and throughout Massachusetts as a sharp and highly-accomplished attorney who consistently achieves excellent results. If you or someone you know would like to speak with him about any criminal matter, call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617-263-6800 or contact us online. Our office welcomes calls around the clock and seven days a week.