The arrest of a Pennsylvania couple made headlines recently in part for the gaudy nature of the offense. Christopher Weikert and Tara Gallucci had over 21.5 pounds of meth, worth over $1 million, stashed in their Northampton apartment. Just for good measure, they were also allegedly in possession of over $4000 worth of fentanyl, a handful of ghost guns, and assorted Nazi paraphernalia.
As you might expect, Weikert and Gallucci have a fair number of charges to try and crawl out from under, and their case wasn't helped any by the fact that Weikert ran. We're not going to offer advice on their defense.
However, their case does offer a useful opportunity for exploring some of the finer details of Pennsylvania's drug laws, particularly the distinction between drug possession and possession with intent to deliver.
Just How Much is Recreational?
The most important dividing line when it comes to drug offenses in Pennsylvania is whether you simply possess a substance for personal recreational use or whether you intend to distribute it to others. A prosecutor might use a number of factors to demonstrate your “intent,” including whether you own multiple cell phones or were caught with weighing scales. However, the difference between the two charges can simply come down to the amount of drugs you have in your possession.
If you happen to be caught with more than two grams of cocaine, for instance, prosecutors generally assume it was intended for more than mere personal use. The same goes for more than a gram of heroin.
The 21.5 pounds of meth Weikert Gallucci had also seems like it would probably qualify.
It is also worth noting that one reason the crime is labeled “intent to deliver” as opposed to drug “trafficking” is that you don't need to have sold the drug to be charged. In fact, the law doesn't differentiate between those who manufacture, sell, or give away drugs. If the amount of drugs you possess is over a given limit, you can expect to face “intent to deliver” charges, regardless of what you were actually doing with those drugs.
Specific penalties for both possession and possession with the intent to deliver can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the specific substance and how much of the substance you possess. However, the distinction between simple possession and intent can be summarized pretty easily. Possession is a misdemeanor; intent is a felony.
Joseph D. Lento can Help
Were you arrested for a drug offense? Whether you're facing a charge of possession or possession with intent to deliver, Joseph D. Lento can help. Joseph D. Lento has years of experience representing clients just like you. He knows the law when it comes to drug offenses, and he's an expert at fighting for defendants' rights. Don't trust your case to someone who doesn't understand Pennsylvania's drug laws. Trust Joseph D. Lento.
Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.