Federal Conspiracy Charges
Federal conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime that violates federal laws. Between those two or more people, at least one individual must continue a concealed act to further the conspiracy. According to the general federal conspiracy statute 18 USC 371, (conspiracy is) if two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. This statute states that it is criminal conspiracy act to both defraud the United States as well as a violating any other provisions of federal law.
Laws of Conspiracy
The intention of federal conspiracy laws is to discourage the participation two or more individuals in partaking in major crimes. The federal courts have stated that even if the two or more people involved have never interacted or met, they are still held responsible for conspiracy if at least one person knew another was committing an act to further the conspiracy. Commonly in conspiracies, there will be a large group of people with one central person coordinating the work of the other participants. Furthermore, a conspiracy does not have to be a large body of individuals. If two people are involved, this can constitute as a conspiracy. Drug conspiracy is the most common conspiracy with the most recent involving drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. In 2014, Guzman plead guilty to a $1 billion trafficking conspiracy that was masterminded by his boss. Conspiracy can include a wide range of crimes such as rape, murder, drugs, robbery, cyber-hacking, and money laundering. The conspiracy laws provide extra charges as well as extra punishment. The federal statutes recognize two types of conspiracies. This includes conspiracies in a felony offense and conspiracies in a misdemeanor offense. The federal government must decide whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor in order to apply the correct punishment.
Punishment of Conspiracy
According to the federal statute 18 USC 371, individuals may be punished for conspiracy against the U.S. federal government with a term of imprisonment not more than five years, a fine, or both. Generally, it is challenging for prosecutors to prove conspiracy and will frequently work with members of the conspiracy to work against its other members just to obtain evidence. This can help the individuals receive a less harsh penalty such as a reduced prison term. Additionally, members of the conspiracy will face a fine equivalent of the public harm or results from the conspiracy being carried out as planned
Sentencing Guidelines of Conspiracy
Felony conspiracy convictions carry a prison term of up to five years, fines, or both. However, misdemeanor conspiracy convictions carry a much less punishment. Federal statutes state that no matter how many people were involved, if the charge is a misdemeanor, the punishment cannot exceed the maximum punishment. This statue prevents defendants’ protection against a misdemeanor offense being punished as a felony.
Statute of Limitations of Conspiracy
The basis for the statute of limitations is provided in 18 USC 3282 describes as follows: "except as otherwise expressly provided by law," a prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed. This means no American citizen can be tried, prosecuted, or punished for non-capitol offense after the sixty (60) month period of the commissioned offense. For a case to be valid, prosecutors must provide the information and/or indictment before the time limit of sixty (60) months. If the conspiracy was a capital offense such as murder or kidnapping, the time allotted from the trial, prosecution, and punishment can exceed five (5) years, even if the conspiracy was unsuccessful.
Drug Conspiracy Cases
Kenneth Matthews of Newport News was sentenced to 264 months in prison for participating in a drug conspiracy and for being an accessory after the fact of murder. Matthews’ guilty plea included conspiracy to distribute more than five (5) kilograms of cocaine through his association with a criminal organization known as Thug Relations.
In Houston, TX, Charles William Carlton was accused of his participation in a drug conspiracy that led to the deaths of two teenagers. Carlton pleaded guilty to money laundering, possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances causing bodily injury/death, and for delivery of a misbranded drug.
In 2014, Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty to a $1 billion trafficking conspiracy that was masterminded by his boss. Guzman and eight others were accused of using speedboats, submarines, and a cargo plane to move drugs from South America to Mexico, and then to the United States.
National Conspiracy New Reports
18 USC 371
18 USC 3282