Performing Operations as a Major Trafficker: New York Penal Code § 220.77

While occasionally selling drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine a few ounces at a time is a serious crime with severe repercussions, being found guilty of selling controlled substances on a large scale and making significant income doing so could result in a sentence that locks you up in prison for the rest of your life. New York Penal Code § 220.77 deals with the latter. A person is guilty of performing operations as a major trafficker when they:

  1. For twelve months or less, directed a controlled substance organization’s operations, and the controlled substances were valued at $75,000 or more; or
  2. For six months or less, profited from the sale of narcotics valued at $75,000 or more; or
  3. For six months or less, possessed narcotics valued at $75,000 or more with the intent to profit from the sale of such narcotics.
Hypothetical Case

During an eighteen month period, a woman made thirty-five trips from the suburbs of New York to the Bronx to get heroin for her contact. The woman carried ten to twenty bundles of heroin back to the Bronx on each trip. On the flip side, the woman was also the intermediary for heroin buyers in the suburbs as she would call her contact on their behalf and make arrangements to sell heroin to them, getting instructions from her contact on the time and location of the sale transaction. Fifteen different people were involved in the sales transactions. For her part, the woman was paid in heroin. She was arrested and cooperated with authorities in identifying her contact who was subsequently arrested for performing operations as a major trafficker. If the prosecuting attorney could prove that the amount of heroin that was sold over a twelve period had a value of at least $75,000, the man could be convicted of performing operations as a major trafficker, in violation of New York Penal Code § 220.77.

Possible Defenses

Value of the drugs in question was less than $75,000. To make a viable case to charge the defendant with performing operations as a major trafficker, the prosecuting attorney must demonstrate that the drugs in question had a value of at least $75,000. If the defense could present a credible argument that the subject drugs had a value less than $75,000, then the court may be swayed to the defendant’s side of the fence.

Lack of probable cause. In the State of New York, a legal search must be conducted in the presence of probable cause. Law enforcement officers must have reason to believe that a crime had been committed to assert probable cause. If it can be argued that the police officers did not have reason to think that any laws were broken and that probable cause did not exist, then materials confiscated during the search may not be used as evidence in a court of law.

Other lines of defense. Highly qualified defense attorneys who have mounted successful strategies in drug-related cases develop insights that could be used to advantage. A veteran defense attorney may tap into tactics that are not known by less experienced defense attorneys.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. As a Class A-1 felony, operating as a major trafficker is considered to be one of the most serious drug crimes in the State of New York. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison. The minimum sentence is fifteen to forty years of imprisonment.

Monetary Fine. A convicted individual may also be ordered to pay a fine up to $100,000.

NY Penal Code § 220.77: Performing Operations as a Major Trafficker

To summarize, a person is guilty of performing operations as a major trafficker when that person:

  1. For twelve months or less, directed a controlled substance organization’s operations, and the sale of controlled substances transacted resulted in an aggregated $75,000 or more in sales; or
  2. For six months or less, profited unlawfully and knowingly from the sale of controlled substances that aggregated sales of $75,000 or more; or
  3. For six months or less, intended to profit unlawfully and knowingly from the sale of drugs in the subject person’s possession, and the drugs had an aggregated sales value of $75,000 or more.
Lawyer to Defend Against the Charge of Performing Operations as a Major Trafficker

A conviction for performing operations as a major trafficker is a serious matter. A person convicted of this crime could face from fifteen years to life in prison, possess a damaging criminal record, as well possibly becoming indebted to the courts with up to a $100,000 fine. To effectively defend against the charge of performing operations as a major trafficker, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel from a reputable defense attorney

Elliott Adler PC law firm has successfully defended individuals charged with performing operations as a major trafficker. Moreover, Elliot Adler PC law firm argues ardently on behalf of clients accused of any of the controlled substance crimes in the State of New York. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has a reputation for structuring effective drug crime defense cases, including the manufacture, possession or sale of controlled substances such as crack, cocaine, OxyContin, methamphetamine, PCP, Vicodin, LSD, heroin, and marijuana.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or http://www.newyorkcriminallawyer24-7.com to schedule a no-obligation, free legal consultative meeting to evaluate your case.

Related Offenses

For additional information, refer to the following sections of the New York Penal Code:

  1. First degree criminal possession of a controlled substance: § 220.21
  2. First degree criminal sale of a controlled substance: § 220.43