Commercial Fraud Scheme

Practice Area

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<h2 class=”wsite-content-title” style=”text-align:center;”><strong><font size=”6″>Crime Of Tunnel Tafficking And Drug Seizure</font></strong></h2>

<div class=”paragraph”>Using a tunnel for illegal drug trafficking is a separate federal crime in and of itself.&nbsp; The crime carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years under Title 18 U.S.C. Section 555.<br>Six defendants were indicted in connection with building, financing and maintaining a 415-yard tunnel across the border near San Diego to facilitate drug trafficking.&nbsp;&nbsp; About 300 yards north of the international border, defendants were using a tunnel that led from a restaurant in Mexicali to a house in Calexico, CA.&nbsp; Agents discovered a hole in the floor with the underground shaft concealed.&nbsp; Defendants were also charged with conspiracy to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana (mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison).<br>Conspiracy is a specific intent crime.&nbsp; All of the defendants must be found to have agreed to the unlawful conduct.&nbsp; An indictment may name individuals who may not have actually physically handled or possessed drugs.<br>Only five of the defendants were charged with using a narcotics tunnel.&nbsp; The charges allow for punishment for “recklessly disregarding the use of a tunnel.”&nbsp; That means there had to be some level of knowledge or awareness that a tunnel was being used for illicit purposes and the defendants recklessly disregarded that information.&nbsp; An affirmative defense can be that the defendants had insufficient involvement and knowledge about the tunnel to be deemed “recklessly disregarding” any fact.<br>Tunnels have been used to traffic humans and drugs.&nbsp; With strong implications for border security, the government has tightened its enforcement and prosecution of these crimes.<br></div>