Cocaine, Legal Usage, & Texas Criminal Law

Cocaine, Legal Usage, & Texas Criminal Law

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant obtained from the coca plant. The coca plant originated from Peru and Bolivia and after the discovery of its benefits in terms of therapy in the early 1990s, the plant was pharmaceutically processed in to a pure form of cocaine hydrochloride chemical which was used in making over-the-counter drugs used by many families for medication. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substance Act. This indicates how likely the drug is to be abused but also be used for legitimate medication purposes. In surgeries, cocaine is used as a local anesthesia.

Cocaine usage in Texas

One of the most reliable firms in providing statistical data concerning drug abuse in the U.S, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in its report in 2013 indicated that one month before submission of the report there were over 1.5 million cocaine users in the 12+ group. From the report, it was deduced that the rate of cocaine use in 2013 was lower than the rates for 2002-2007. The report also showed that in 2013 alone over 600,000 people in the 12+ group were first time users of the drug.

A 66-pound bundle of cocaine whose estimated street value was at $3.5 million was retrieved by lifeguards on the beach in Galveston in May 2015. The bundle had a dolphin stamp indicating it belonged to the Gulf Coast Mexican drug cartel. Although no information or cause had been reported, the bundles suggested that there might have been a mishap in the sea as it was the sixth one to be recently washed up on the Galveston beach.

As of 2014 as indicated by a survey conducted in the University of Texas at Austin, the rate of cocaine consumption had dropped from the previous years. The decline was largely attributed to the circumstances surrounding its distribution. The research data also indicated that the wane in cocaine supply was due to the increased demand in Europe and a drop in its production in South America. Also, the induction of levamisole, a chemical which dilutes the purity of cocaine making it less desirable on the street might have contributed to the decrease in number of its users. Other than the many losses cocaine can bring, the ultimate loss is death. 411 deaths were recorded in 2013 as cocaine related poisoning. A majority of the victims of deaths arising from cocaine poisoning were averagely 46 years old.

Texas laws on cocaine

Being in possession, selling or trafficking of cocaine is considered a felony throughout the United States as well as under the federal law. In Texas, the amount of drugs at issue is used to determine the penalties for being in possession of the drugs. The penalties range from a jail term to monetary fines. However, it is considered a felony to be in possession of any amount of cocaine. Even if it is less that 1 gram of the drug, one might end up being sentenced to two years imprisonment. Those who are caught in possession of over 200 grams might end up spending up to 99 years in prison. However, first time cocaine offenders are offered diversion programs in exchange for dropping of charges in some counties within Texas.

Tobacco Smuggling In Houston

Tobacco Smuggling In Houston

The Tax Foundation have recently released figures that show that over a quarter of cigarettes that are sold in Texas have been smuggled in by people who are trying to avoid the high taxes that should be paid on tobacco products.

Texas, 6th in Smoking, New York is…

Texas is the 6th highest stare in terms of cigarette smuggling but is still some way behind the state at the top of the list which is New York. Over half of the cigarettes sold here have been smuggled in, 55% to be precise. This does seem to suggest that the higher the taxes are, the more prevalent smuggling is.

Beating the State

People who buy cigarettes that they know have been smuggled into the stare may try to tell themselves that it is a victimless crime but this is not actually the case. The customer may not actually make that much of a saving when compared to the price that they would normally pay. Less taxes that are collected by the state also means that there is less money to spend on things such as education and healthcare.

Lower Taxes Are Good!

This is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed but the way forward is not as clear as it might be. Lower taxes might mean that there is less demand for smuggled products but it has been shown that higher taxes do act as a deterrent to smokers and therefore this is something that really needs to be kept in place.

The other problem is that law enforcement in Houston and other Texan cities already find themselves over-stretched. With limited resources available the task of identifying a smuggling ring and putting an end to its operation may be something that is out of reach. A specialist team would probably be needed but a lot of police departments just do not have the money or the manpower to make this a reality.

Cocaine Offenses

Cocaine Offenses

In Houston, possession of a even a seemingly minor amount of cocaine is tantamount to reasoning for a stiff prison sentence. Regardless of how small the amount, possession of cocaine is a felony crime in Texas.

Although a felony offense, there are levels to the severity of the criminal charge. The level of severity is largely contingent on the amount of the drug the defendant is “allegedly” connected with, and if whether or not the defendant has any previous criminal history.

The stakes are raised even more if the defendant has any form of criminal history that suggests habitual criminal behavior of the same kind. For example: a second cocaine offense and the presiding Harris County judge may throw that proverbial book at you.