Troup County Man Found with 28 Pounds of Meth & What are whisper stops?
11 Alive News is reporting that a man passing through Troup county was arrested with over 28 pounds of methamphetamine. What started as a simple traffic stop - quickly turned to something much larger. This story is relevant for two reasons: 1) Whisper Stops and 2 )Trafficking in Methamphetamine.
It is reported that the defendant was stopped for following too closely and an obstructed car tag. It turns out, however, that after a K-9 officer alerted on his vehicle that the defendant allegedly has a large quantity of methamphetamine in his car.
Police often use alleged simple traffic violation like these to conduct whisper stops. A whisper stop is when law enforcement receives a tip, sometimes by dubious means (including wiretaps, electronic surveillance, computer programs and computer surveillance) and then goes out of there to make a traffic stop on a certain individual based on this tip. This allows law enforcement to say on paper that a stop was conducted because of a traffic violation knowing that that was not the true reason (a police tactic called parallel construction). Check out this article to learn more about whisper stops and the constitutional issues they present.
As a former prosecutor I know that whisper stops are very real. As a defense attorney I know that it is hard to prove in court that any stop was actually a whipser stop and, even if it was a whisper stop, that the evidence may be admissible anyway.
Trafficking in Methamphetamine
Trafficking is considered the most serious of all the drug crimes. To be convicted of a trafficking the prosecutors do not have to present any evidence other than you possessed a certain amount of an illegal drug. For methamphetamine, the possession of 28 grams of methamphetamine or more is considered trafficking.
From there there are different sentencing ranges as the amount of meth involved increases. The harshest penalty is for someone convicted of possessing over 400 grams of meth. In this case the defendant allegedly had 28 pounds of meth - which converts to about 12,700 grams - well over the 400 grams threshold.
The range of punishment when convicted of trafficking 400 grams or more of meth is twenty-five to thirty. Meaning the minimum sentence is twenty five years and the maximum is thirty. Because Georgia lawmakers don't think that is bad enough, they also impose a $1,000,000 fine upon conviction.
So, if this man were convicted of one count of trafficking meth 400 grams or more he would face a minimum of twenty-five years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.