Teacher Avoids Federal Conviction for Importing Controlled Substances
A high school teacher retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after customs officials arrested the teacher at the airport on the teacher's return from an international trip. The teacher planned to land and travel to his nearby home in an adjacent state. Federal authorities charged the teacher with a federal crime of importing a controlled substance for transport across state lines. The substance at issue was a medication that a resort nurse had given the teacher when the teacher complained of intense pain from a muscle pull. The medication, a good-sized baggie of capsules, had given the teacher such extraordinary relief that the teacher had endeavored to save the capsules for future use. Federal authorities maintained otherwise that our client had traveled to the resort to purchase, return with, and sell the drugs, which authorities maintained were manufactured for hallucinogenic rather than pain-killing effect. Our investigation confirmed that our client had not tipped the resort staff a customary amount in cash but had not otherwise spent any of the cash he had withdrawn and carried on the trip. Our Team assembled bank records and other documentation to that effect. Our pharmaceutical expert further obtained a sample capsule for testing, confirming that although it may have been processed secondhand into the capsules, it contained only a mix of pharmaceuticals available over the counter within the U.S. Federal prosecutors subsequently produced exonerating tests in their possession before our expert's testing, confirming that the capsules did not contain controlled substances. The prosecution abandoned the charge after the judge threatened to sanction the prosecution for failing to reveal the exonerating evidence earlier, before defense testing.
Gun Dealer Defeats Federal Weapons Charges on Technical Defense
A gun dealer retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team when arrested on federal weapons charges. The charges alleged that the dealer had advertised and sold across state lines to federal officials posing as customers, weapons that had been modified in violation of federal law. Our client believed that the weapons were lawful, although he acknowledged that opinions differed within the firearms community. Our client had purchased and resold the weapons only after his weapons expert had examined them and declared them compliant. Federal officials, though, did not recognize a good-faith defense, instead maintaining that the law treated the offense as one of strict liability without respect to the defendant's knowledge and intent. Our Criminal Defense Team retained a leading weapons expert to examine the disputed weapons, document their configuration, and compare their configuration to the federal technical specifications on lawful and illegal modifications. Our weapons expert confirmed the compliant form of the disputed weapons. Our research team also cited case law recognizing that a defendant's state of mind could be a factor in whether the facts satisfied the elements of the charged crime. The prosecution disclosed their weapons expert's report indicating that the weapons were illegal in modification and design. But the expert lacked the credentials, objectivity, and reputation of our defense expert. The prosecution subsequently abandoned the charge after the judge preliminarily indicated at a pre-trial conference that he might rule the prosecution's expert unqualified and, in a bench trial, might accept the defense expert's opinion.