DRUG Trafficking

The sale and transportation of controlled substances is prohibited under California Health & Safety code 11352 and is defined by the following:

  1. Doing or  offering to do any of the following with a controlled substance: Selling  it, furnishing it, administering it (to another person, for example, by  injecting it), giving it away, transporting it for sale, importing it  into California.
  2. Having had knowledge that the drug was a controlled substance
  3. Having had knowledge of the drug’s presence
  4. In the  event that you are accused of transporting the substance for sale, there  was a “usable amount” of the controlled substance.

Essentially, HS 11352 prohibits the  sale of drugs and the moving of drugs by any means. The transportation  of controlled substances can be by vehicle, by bicycle, or on foot, thus  the law not only applies to large-scale drug trafficking operations.  You may still be charged with a felony under HS 11352 for selling a  small amount of drugs to a friend.


Federal Drug Trafficking Laws (21 U.S.C. § 841)

Drug trafficking is prohibited under  federal law as well. Federal authorities may become involved in a drug  trafficking investigation if some combination of the following apply:

  1. It is suspected that drugs are being distributed across state lines or national borders.
  2. The  suspected drug dealing is taking place in an area where federal  authorities have increased the level of surveillance due to a high  volume of drug-related criminal activity, known as a High Intensity Drug  Trafficking Area (HIDTA). 
  3. The trafficking of large amounts of methamphetamine is suspected.

Penalties for a federal drug  trafficking conviction are determined by the amount of drugs involved,  whether injury or death have occurred as a result of the use of the  controlled substance, and certain other circumstances. Possible  penalties range from 5 years to life in prison and a $5 million to $20  million fine. 

What Drugs Does California’s HS 11352 Apply To?


Health & Safety Code 11352 makes it illegal to sell or transport drugs including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Opiates
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (also known as “GHB”)
  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Certain prescription drugs including oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin)

The sale and transport of certain other drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine are not prohibited by HS 11352 but are prohibited by other California legal codes (further explained in Relates offenses, below).

There are two main categories of HS 11352 offenses

Transportation Of A Controlled Substance 

  • “Transportation” of a controlled substance is defined as the moving or carrying of drugs from one place to another.  
  • You an be charged with transporting a controlled substance even if the distance that the drugs are transported is very short. 
  • The means of transportation may include car, plane, bicycle, or walking. 
  • In order  to be convicted of transportation of a controlled substance, it must be  proven that it was your intent that the drugs would eventually be sold. 
  • In order to be convicted of  transportation of a controlled substance, you must be found to be  transporting a “usable amount” of the drug. Transporting trace amounts  of a drug, such as drug residue on an object, doesn’t count as an HS  11352 violation. This only applies to transportation of a controlled  substance and not to selling a controlled substance. 
  • Offering to sell, furnish, or transport a controlled substance

Offering To Sell A Controlled Substance

  • You can also be charged with violating HS 11352 if you offer or agree to sell, transport, administer, or even give away a controlled substance.
  • You are  only guilty of offering to sell, furnish, or transport a controlled  substance if you intended to follow through on the offer or agreement.  

You do not actually need to  personally handle drugs to be convicted of trafficking a controlled  substance. By having control over the drugs you may be guilty through  something called “constructive possession.” You may be guilty of constructive possession if, for example, you pay  someone else to obtain the drug and transport it for you, and you get  paid upon its delivery. 

Related Offenses

  • Sale or transportation of marijuana HS 11360: This  law is specific to HS 11352 but is specific to the transportation,  sale, furnishing, and giving away of marijuana. An HS 11360 violation is  a felony and could result in penalties of 3, 3, or 4 years in jail. 

  • Sale or transportation of methamphetamines HS 11379: This law is similar to HS 11352 but is specific to the sale and  transportation of methamphetamines such as PCP, MDMA (aka ‘ecstasy’) and  ketamine. Although a violation of HS 11379 is a felony, the penalties  are less serious than the penalties for HS 11352 violations—generally 2,  3, or 4 years in jail.

  • Sale of synthetic, or “designer” drugs HS 11357.5 and HS 11375.5: The  sale of synthetic drugs such as “potpourri,” “spice,” or “bath salts”  is illegal in California and could result in a misdemeanor charge and  penalties of up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to  $1,000.

  • Possession for sale HS 11351: A  somewhat less serious offense than HS 11352, this law involves the same  drugs, but doesn’t actually involve the sale or transport of drugs.  Instead, this violation involves the possession of drugs with the intent to sell them.

Contact Us Today!

Even if you are charged with playing a  minor role in a drug crime, you may be facing some very serious  penalties. A drug trafficking conviction can not only result in hefty  fines and jail time, but can have lasting affects on your personal life,  career, education, and immigration status. 

The Law Officer of William R. Burgener, APC can  help you to obtain the best possible outcome in the face of drug  trafficking or related charges.