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Man gets 10-year term in connection with drug bust

A man who had been convicted of selling more than 500 pounds of marijuana in a single deal was sentenced to a 121-month federal prison term in connection with the drug charges, according to state prosecutors. The 37-year-old man was convicted on a single charge of possession with intent to distribute the drug, though the long term was ostensibly derived from the massive quantity he was attempting to sell.

Trial evidence showed that authorities in El Paso, Texas, intercepted the shipment before it reached the Kansas City area. They acquired the marijuana and set up a controlled drop that would allow federal agents to be present when the drugs were delivered to their intended contact. Undercover agents were involved in the sting operation. They reportedly contacted the suspect to set up the delivery location and time.

The man, along with several co-defendants, was arrested in March 2011 after undercover agents delivered the drugs at the designated drop point.

In cases such as this, it is sometimes difficult to rationalize law enforcement action because many police activities smack of entrapment. Police officers can seek to entrap a potential criminal by enticing them into a crime that they would otherwise be unlikely to commit. Law enforcement officers are not participating in entrapment when they simply provide a favorable opportunity for the suspect to commit a crime. In this case, it appears that the man was willing to intercept the shipment of marijuana, so police officers were not breaking the law.

Additionally, it is not clear whether the man faced a jury or bench trial. Media reports also do not indicate whether the man entered a guilty plea in connection with the incident. If he had considered entering a guilty plea, he could have received a shorter prison sentence with longer probation period, for example. Prosecutors are often willing to negotiate with suspects in order to lower potential sentences if a confession is present.

Source: The Capital-Journal, "546-pound marijuana deal sends KCK man to federal prison," Dec. 11, 2012

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