The New York Criminal Law Blog

Drug Crime in New York

Laws governing illicit drugs generally fall into one of three main categories: cultivation or manufacturing, distribution or trafficking, and possession. For about 36 years until 2009, New York’s Rockefeller laws prescribed some of the toughest drug sentencing guidelines in the country; making even simple possession punishable by one to three years in prison. Recent reforms in the Empire state have softened mandatory minimum sentences and made it possible for certain offenders to seek drug rehabilitation or other prison alternatives. Unlike before, New York judges now have much more discretion in sentencing for drug convictions.

However, New York continues to have some of the country’s toughest drug laws. New York criminal defense attorneys can best help those charged with drug offenses prepare for trial, often with a free initial consultation. For more information on drug crimes in New York City, see:

Recently in Drug Crime Category

How to Fight Drug Possession Charges

What are some potential defenses to a drug possession charge? If the cops caught you in possession of drugs, but not necessarily taking the drugs or selling them, what are your options?

Let's talk about the crime of drug possession.

New York state law divides drug possession charges into those related to cannabis, and those related to other controlled substances.

The Status of the Legalization of Marijuana in New York

In his 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked about cannabis legislation, suggesting that perhaps it was time to loosen the laws a bit in New York.

But that won't be an easy step for the governor. New York has some stringent marijuana laws on the books. Since 1977, marijuana possession has been a misdemeanor in New York, subjecting offenders to a fine if the drug is not in public view.

That being said, possession of amounts under 25 grams won't typically amount to a criminal possession, but still falls under the "unlawful" category. It's a civil offense. Possession of up to 25 grams (0.88 ounces) is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first-time offender.

Ringleader of Kennedy Airport Drug Smuggling Gets Life

Cue the clever movie references. Oh wait, the Feds already did.

The take-down of the "Bourne Organization" finally came to a close yesterday, as the ringleader of the Kennedy Airport baggage handler drug smuggling ring was sentenced to life in prison, reports The Associated Press. Authorities say that Victor Bourne led the group that smuggled millions of dollars in cocaine on American Airlines flights in and out of Kennedy airport.

Bourne was convicted after six former American Airlines employees testified against him.

Operation Dot Com Weeds Fools Out of the NYC Drug Trade

Craigslist. It’s a combination of normal people selling used furniture, others providing “sensual massages,” and surprisingly enough, an active drug trade. Right now, you’re thinking, “no one could be that stupid.” Oh but they were, reports the New York Daily News.

Operation “Dot Com” just ended with indictments for 21 people for selling drugs on craigslist. The shopping list included heroin, Xanax, Adderal, cocaine, and a few other controlled substances. The NYPD did the obvious thing and replied to the ads, catching 21 dealers in 11 months selling approximately $19,000 in pills and $10,400 in cocaine.

Is that Dandruff on Your Shoulder ... or a Kilogram of Cocaine?

Breathe. Just breathe.

Her heart was racing. Her arteries in her neck were bulging. She fidgeted and did not make eye contact with the customs officer.


Perhaps a mild sedative would have saved them from becoming casualties of the War on Drugs. These two women, from Guyana, with unusually massive weaves, were showing signs of deception. Like Edgar Allen Poe’s heart beneath the floor, their telltale bulging neck veins and shortness of breath warranted further investigation, reports the Smoking Gun.

Gangster Granny Admits Role in Million Dollar Drug Ring

Would this make a better movie than Frank Lucas’ tale? A local grandmother, Doris ‘Mama Dot’ Smith, admitted in court to her role in a family-run drug ring that did over a million dollars per year in business, reports the Daily News. The 72-year-old was caught on wiretaps warning her son-in-law Lamont Moultrie, 42, about the cops’ presence and advising him on how to best escape the building.

Mama Dot was the co-op board president of her apartment building, which gave her access to a vacant unit, as well as the basement, to use for storing and preparing drugs for sale. The family allegedly stored baggies of heroin and crack in the basement. They used the spare apartment as a facility for dipping spearmint leaves in PCP, which were then sold for $10 apiece.

Commissioner Kelly: 'Not a Good Month for Jimmy the Henchman'

Talk about an understatement. It really, really has been a bad month, and an even worse year, for Jimmy the Henchman, also known as James Rosemond. Earlier this month, he was convicted of running a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring, reports The New York Times. Rosemond and his associates transported millions of dollars worth of cocaine across state lines in musical equipment cases. They would also cover the drugs in mustard to thwart detection.

And now, he's been indicted in a murder for hire plot, reports The Inquisitr. Not a good month indeed. At this rate, he'll be indicted for causing the worldwide financial crisis by the end of the summer.

New York Moves Towards Marijuana/Marihuana Decriminalization?

Could it be? Is New York, much like California, going to be a haven for hashish? A Mecca for marijuana? A wonderland for weed?

You get the point. And yes, they might just be headed in that direction. According to The New York Times, Mayor Bloomberg has reversed his previous pro-enforcement stance and has joined Governor Cuomo’s proposal to curb the number of cannabis arrests resulting from police stop and frisks.

Cinco De Mayo: Drunk in Public is Legal, Drinking in Public is Not!

Is New York the most perfect place in the country for people to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Unlike most of the rest of the country, there is not a specific law prohibiting being drunk in public. However, you still need to exercise a little caution, as open containers of alcohol and drugged in public are still prohibited, as is lewd conduct and numerous other things that happen when drunk people are, well, drunk.

To celebrate the awesomeness of New York's law or lack thereof, and Cinco De Mayo, here is a recipe for Mojitos Diablos. This should provide an unhealthy alternative to those Coronas, Dos Equis, and margaritas. You might also enjoy the song, posted after the break, by B.O.B., about being on a beach down in Mexico.

Just don't enjoy either on your front stoop or beyond.

Former Miss Russia Prescription Pill Problem Persists

The former Miss Russia and 1998 Miss Universe finalist (which makes her the second most beautiful woman in the world that year?), Anna Malova, has been having trouble with the drug rehab program that her prescription pill legal problems led her to, reports New York Post.

In fact, she allegedly slapped a female patient at the Bronx rehab program, and made unauthorized trips to the fridge. Her lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, tried to explain to the Manhattan Criminal Court that she is struggling with the program.

But Anna Malova has to get through the program, otherwise her pill prescription fraud and shoplifting indictment could potentially have her facing jail time.