California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC: Possession Of More Than $100,000 Relating To Drug Sales

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimedrug sales

While many drug arrests catch low-level sellers and buyers of narcotics, it often is difficult to arrest and prosecute the people at the top of drug organizations. In order to catch these kingpins, the California legislature has enacted laws criminalizing the possession of drug sale proceeds. Under California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC, possessing over $100,000 derived from the proceeds of drug sales or possessing over $100,000 in order to purchase drugs is a serious criminal offense that can lead to prison sentences.

In order to prove that the defendant possessed more than $100,000 derived from drug sales, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant possessed more than $100,000.

  2. The money was obtained from the sale, possession for sale, transportation or manufacturing of a controlled substance.

  3. AND the defendant knew that the money was obtained as a result of the sale, possession for sale, transportation or manufacturing of a controlled substance

California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC does not require that the defendant possess a controlled substance or participate in a transaction involving controlled substances in any manner. However, the defendant must have knowledge of the origin of the money.

In addition, a defendant can be prosecuted under this statute if he or she possessed the money in order to purchase controlled substances. To prove this offense, the following elements must be present:

  1. The defendant possessed more than $100,000

  2. The defendant intended to use the money to unlawfully purchase a controlled substance

  3. AND the defendant committed an act in substantial furtherance of the purchase.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
  2. Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
3. Examples

A man runs a large scale drug operation that brings in substantial profits every month. Although he does not handle either the drugs or the cash, he receives regular payouts of over $100,000 from the profits of the drug sales. The man could be charged with possession of over $100,000 deriving from drug sales in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC.

In another example, a woman runs a charity in town that focuses on feeding and housing the poor. One day she receives a $150,000 donation from a man rumored to be a high-level drug dealer. However the man repeatedly assures the woman that he is a legitimate businessman, so she accepts the donation. The man is ultimately discovered to run a major drug cartel, and the donation included money from his drug proceeds. Neither the woman nor the charity would be criminally liable under the statute because they did not know that the source of the money was the sale of controlled substances.

4. Defenses to Possession of More Than $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales

As described above, the defendant can only be prosecuted for this offense if he or she knowingly possessed over $100,000 that came from the proceeds of drug sales. If the defendant did not have this knowledge, he or she would not be guilty of this offense.

5. Penalties

Possession of more than $100,000 relating to drug sales is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant can be sentenced to up to a year in jail. If convicted of a felony, the defendant can be sent to prison for up to three years.

6. Criminal Defense for Possession of More Than $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales Cases

If you have been charged with or accused of possessing more than $100,000 relating to the proceeds of drug sales, it is very important that you discuss your options with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively fight all aspects of drug crimes.

For more information about possessing more than $100,000 relating to drug sales, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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