What is Considered Drug Trafficking?

A picture of a man being arrested for 1st-degree drug trafficking or second-degree drug trafficking in Missouri.

Many people think drug trafficking charges in Missouri require the possession of large quantities of illicit drugs AND the intent to sell/distribute. 

However, that’s not the case. Defendants can be convicted of drug trafficking for simply having a large quantity. That’s true, even if it’s for personal use. With that in mind, individuals charged with drug trafficking offenses face:

  • Felony criminal record
  • Mandatory prison time
  • Fines
  • Potential prosecution at the state and federal level

If you’re facing felony drug trafficking offenses in Missouri, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven drug crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Kirsch & Kirsch today for your free initial consultation. 

Continue reading to learn more about Missouri drug trafficking laws, penalties, and potential defenses. 

Missouri Drug Trafficking Laws To Know 

Missouri drug trafficking offenses are classified by the quantity and type of drug. Generally, the higher the quantity of an illegal controlled substance, the more likely defendants are to face first-degree charges. 

Learn more about 1st and 2nd-degree drug trafficking laws in Missouri below. 

First-Degree Drug Trafficking 

Individuals who intentionally (or attempts to) distribute, manufacture, or deliver the following drugs (but not limited to) in Missouri may be charged with drug trafficking in the first degree (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 579.065), depending on the quantity: 

  • Cocaine: 30 – 90 grams or more 
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): 500 mg – 1 gram or more 
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): 4  – 12 grams or more 
  • Marijuana: 30 – 100 kilograms or more 
  • Meth: 30 – 90 grams or more 
  • Heroin: 30 – 90 grams or more 
  • Ecstacy: 30 – 90 grams or more  
  • Fentanyl: 10 – 20 mg or more 

It’s important to note that defendants can be convicted of a class A or class B felony depending on the quantity and type of drug. 

Second-Degree Drug Trafficking 

Unlike 1st-degree drug trafficking charges, drug trafficking in the 2nd degree (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 579.068) doesn’t require the intent to sell or distribute controlled substances. Second-degree trafficking only requires the defendant to possess a large quantity of drugs. 

Generally, an individual can be charged with 2nd-degree drug trafficking if they intentionally: 

  • Possess large quantities of controlled substances
  • Have large quantities of controlled substances under their control
  • Purchase or attempts to purchase large quantities for any reason 
  • Trafficks large quantities into Missouri