Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer with Offices in Chicago, DuPage, and Skokie

Under the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act, 720 ILCS 570/401.1, it is illegal for individuals to transport controlled substances into the state of Illinois. In addition, drug trafficking is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. While federal law uses the terms “distribution” and “trafficking” interchangeably, Illinois defines both terms separately and as such, charges both as separate offenses. For example, in Illinois, distribution refers to the actual exchange of drugs from the seller to the buyer. Trafficking, on the other hand, refers to the inter-state transportation of drugs.

Generally speaking, the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act is designed to keep drugs out of the state by shutting down large multi-state drug rings and international drug cartels. An individual arrested for drug trafficking in Illinois is often also charged with drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute. If you or someone you care about is facing drug crime charges, contact Chicago drug trafficking lawyer David L. Freidberg immediately.

Illinois drug crimes are prosecuted in the Circuit Court for the county in which the offense was committed. The State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes defendants. When you are arrested, any illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia will be seized as evidence to be introduced at trial, any statements you make will be recorded and used against you, and the prosecution will attempt to find witnesses to incriminate you. In order to contest drug trafficking charges, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who understands when to negotiate and when to fight. Chicago criminal defense attorney David L. Freidberg has represented countless clients charged with drug crimes and is well-versed in the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act, federal Controlled Substances Act, and any potential defenses. Mr. Freidberg is available 24/7 to explain the charges and possible penalties, discuss your various options, craft an investigation strategy, construct a viable defense theory, and advocate for your rights in court. For a free initial consultation on your drug trafficking case, contact The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg now at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442.

Controlled Substance Trafficking

According to 720 ILCS 570/401.1, drug trafficking in Illinois occurs when a person “knowingly brings or causes to be brought into th[e] State for the purpose of manufacture or delivery or with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance other than methamphetamine or counterfeit substance in this or any other state or country is guilty of controlled substance trafficking.” Put simply, an individual violates the drug trafficking law when he or she either imports or exports drugs. If drugs cross Illinois state lines, drug trafficking has occurred. The Illinois law does not differentiate between methods of transportation. For example, the drugs can cross state lines in someone’s pocket or car, on a plane or boat, in a semi-truck or as part of a shipment. Trafficking also applies to ingredients used to manufacture drugs.

In addition, trafficking charges can be brought against the person doing the actual transportation as well as the person who arranged the transportation. For instance, if you hire someone to drive your marijuana from Wisconsin to Illinois, you and the driver can be charged with drug trafficking, even if you were not in the car at the time it was stopped by the police. Trafficking charges can also be levied, with enhanced penalties, against individuals using cell phones to arrange the transportation of the drugs.

Trafficking can apply to any drug amount, large or small. However, drug trafficking charges are commonly associated with larger quantities. The Illinois legislature passed the Controlled Substance Trafficking Act in order to crack down on large drug rings and drug cartels. Many of these groups move massive quantities of narcotics into and out of the state each year. As part of the War on Drugs, the Illinois legislature decided to criminalize trafficking separately from distribution.

In Illinois, to prove drug trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, the prosecutor must show the defendant:

  • Knowingly
  • Brought or arranged transportation of
  • A controlled substance
  • Either into or out of the state of Illinois.

A controlled substance is either a narcotic such as heroin or a prescription medication. A prescription medication such as Vicodin becomes an illegal drug when the offender does not possess a valid prescription. Certain prescription medications are labeled as Schedule I-V controlled substances due to their dangerous side effects and propensity for abuse/addiction. Illinois uses the federal classification system found in the federal Controlled Substances Act as guidance for which narcotics and prescription medications qualify as controlled substances.

Drug Trafficking Penalties

If you are convicted of drug trafficking, the judge is authorized by the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act to sentence you to incarceration for no less than twice the minimum term and no more than twice the maximum term assigned for manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute under Section 401. The imprisonment lengths assigned for manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute vary based upon the type and amount of the controlled substance. See below for some of these penalties. Chicago drug trafficking lawyer David L. Freidberg has the experience to help you fight any drug crime charges you may be facing.

Class X Felonies

  • Heroin, Fentanyl, Morphine, LSD: 6 to 30 years in prison for 15 to 100 grams; 9 to 40 years in prison for 100 to 400 grams; 12 to 50 years for 400 to 900 grams; 15 to 60 years in prison for over 900 grams
  • Peyote, Barbiturates, Amphetamines: 6 to 30 years in prison for 200 or more grams
  • PCP, Opiates, Ketamine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Other Schedule I and II Drugs: 6 to 30 years in prison for 30 or more grams
  • Certain substances in the Class X Felony category such as heroin carry fines as high as $500,000 or the full street value of the substance if the amount is 100 grams or more

Class 1 Felonies

  • Heroin, Fentanyl, Cocaine: 4 to 15 years in prison for 1 to 15 grams
  • Peyote, Barbiturates, Amphetamines: 4 to 15 years in prison for 50 to 200 grams
  • LSD: 4 to 15 years in prison for 5 to 15 grams
  • Pentazocine, Methaqualone, PCP, Ketamine: 4 to 15 years in prison for 10 to 30 grams
  • Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Other Schedule I and II Drugs: 4 to 15 years in prison for 50 to 100 grams

Class 2 Felonies

  • Other Narcotics, LSD Analogs, Amphetamine, Fentanyl, BZP: 3 to 7 years in prison for amounts less than those specified for Class 1 Felonies, plus up to a
  • $200,000 fine

Class 3 Felonies

  • Schedule III, IV or V Drugs: 2 to 5 years in prison with a maximum fine ranging from $75,000 to $150,000, depending on the type of substance

In addition, a cell phone used in furtherance of the trafficking scheme is a Class 2 felony alone, which faces up to a $100,000 fine.


  • Anabolic Steroids: 180 days to 2 years in prison, depending on the number of prior offenses
  • Look-Alike Substances: 30 days in county jail

Consult with a Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney in Chicago for Free Today!

If you have been charged with drug trafficking or any other drug crime, you are facing steep penalties, including a harsh jail sentence, exorbitant fines, long term probation or supervised release, court fees, and lasting consequences on your permanent record. With this in mind, contact David L. Freidberg, a seasoned Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, who can assist you in fighting these charges, either through negotiating for reduced charges and a light sentence such as probation, or through advocating for your constitutional rights in court by disputing the charges at trial. For a free consultation with a drug trafficking expert, call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg now at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442. As always, we are available 24/7 for your convenience.

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