Drug Trafficker with a Pistol Disputes “Armed Drug Trafficker” Charge

After a 45-year-old from Baden-Württemberg admitted he had grown and trafficked cannabis, bought opioids from the darknet, and bought a gun from the darknet, the Stuttgart Public Prosecutor’s Office pressed the court for a prison sentence of more than four years. They claimed he committed armed drug trafficking. His defense attorney pushed for a shorter sentence of just under four years. He argued that his client only trafficked drugs and possessed a weapon.

Armed drug trafficking is a serious violation of the Narcotics Act. The charge carries a minimum sentence of five years. Neither the prosecution nor the defense fought over the drug trafficking charge; the defendant himself claimed he had maintained a grow operation from 2009 until his 2017 arrest. He kept roughly 100 plants in his house in the Swabian Forest. He admitted that he had trafficked or distributed cannabis for the same length of time.

When the police raided his home and arrested him, they found a firearm. The defendant did not deny that he owned the firearm. He did not deny that he had bought it from a darknet vendor either. The argument surrounding sentencing rests on the defendant’s alleged addiction and why he had purchased the gun.

“I’m a gun guy and was fascinated by the technique of the gun,” he told the court. The 45-year-old could potentially have maintained his cover for far longer – if not for the gun. He accidentally alerted German authorities after buying ammunition on the darknet. The police flagged his package and later arrested him, putting an end to his full-time job as a marijuana cultivator.

“The picture of a heavily armed gangster, who wants to [need the gun to escape] during drug smuggling, is not the least bit similar to the defendant,” the man’s lawyer said. “He shot the pistol only once in the forest years ago and feared he was going to be discovered because of the noise.”

Furthermore, the lawyer argued, the defendant had grown marijuana only to support his addiction. The man started smoking marijuana in his teenage years and had not stopped by the time he reached adulthood. In addition to heavy marijuana use, the 45-year-old had grown addicted to painkillers. He ordered them from the darknet and used them whenever he felt pain. Due to the ongoing addiction, the defendant deserves a sentence that allows him to receive treatment, the lawyer explained.

The prosecution countered that the man sold for personal gain – not to finance his drug use. And the requirements for addiction therapy and rehabilitation would not be meet if the defendant had grown and distributed marijuana to make a living. So for armed drug trafficking, the prosecution asked for a prison sentence of four years and six months. The defense urged the court to consider, at a maximum, a sentence of three years and six months.

On November 30, the court will announce a verdict.

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