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Report: Santa Barbara County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Trafficking and Firearms Charges

Steven R. Andrade Sept. 3, 2021

According to a report from the Lompoc Record, a 25-year-old Santa Barbara County man has entered a guilty plea in federal drug trafficking and firearms cases. He was arrested back in October of 2020 and had initially pleaded not guilty to the offenses. In this article, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney provides a more comprehensive explanation of the charges.

Agreement: Two Charges Dropped, One Guilty Plea

The man was apprehended by police in the early morning hours of October 15th, 2020 after a traffic stop. He was charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and firearms offenses. The case was eventually moved to federal court because the weapons were allegedly linked to interstate commerce. Here is an overview of the initial federal criminal charges that were filed against the man:

  • Drug Trafficking (Dropped): Federal drug trafficking charges must be taken seriously. It is a felony offense. The specific charge will depend on several factors, including the type and amount of the controlled substance. According to the original complaint filed by prosecutors, the defendant was discovered with 14.25 grams of heroin. The drug trafficking case was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

  • Possession of a Firearm While Committing a Drug Trafficking Crime (Dropped): As the defendant was also allegedly found with a firearm, prosecutors filed charges for possession of a firearm while committing a drug trafficking offense. This charge was also dropped as part of the plea agreement.

  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Guilty Plea): As part of the agreement reached with federal prosecutors, the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to one count of being in possession of a firearm while a felon. Under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)), a person is guilty of the offense of “felon in possession” if they previously have been convicted of a felony criminal offense and they ship, transport, or possess a firearm that has been distributed via interstate or foreign commerce. A defendant could face state firearm charges if the weapon was solely manufactured and possessed within California.

The Lompoc Record reports that man is currently scheduled for sentencing on November 8th, 2021 at the United States District Court in Los Angeles. A felon in possession of a firearm is itself a serious federal felony offense. It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years supervised release (probation), and a $250,000 fine.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with A Santa Barbara, CA Defense Attorney

At Andrade Law Offices, our Santa Barbara felony defense lawyer has the skills and experience to handle the full range of criminal charges, including federal cases. If you or your loved one was arrested on a federal weapons charge, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a strictly confidential consultation. We provide criminal defense representation throughout Santa Barbara County, including in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta, and Guadalupe.