Illegal Drug Importation

Importation of Illegal Drugs

If you are facing Importation of Illegal Drugs charges, hiring a skilled and experienced defense attorney can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a devastating one. Josh Kolsrud can help you understand your charges, build a strong defense, negotiate with the prosecution, and protect your rights in court.

During Josh’s 14 years as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he tried over 100 cases to verdict. As an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), Josh handled 3,528 cases, with the vast majority dealing with border crimes including Importation of Illegal Drugs. Josh and his team will work tirelessly to defend your rights and protect your interests throughout the legal process. We have a deep understanding of federal laws and can provide the expert guidance you need to build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

What is Illegal Drug Importation?

Drug importation is a serious crime under 21 USC § 952, which prohibits the importation of controlled substances into the United States. If you have been charged with drug importation, it is important to understand the charges against you and the potential penalties and fines you may face.

Drug importation refers to the act of bringing controlled substances into the United States from a foreign country. This can include drugs such as fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, Xanax, Tramadol, Ambien, Oxycontin, Adderall, Percocet and other controlled substances.

Under 21 USC § 952, it is illegal to import a controlled substance into the United States without a valid United States prescription.

Penalties for Drug Importation

The penalties for drug importation can be severe, depending on the type and quantity of controlled substance involved in the offense. The severity of the penalty will depend on various factors, such as the type of drug, the quantity involved, and the defendant's criminal history.

For a first-time offense of drug importation, the penalty can be up to 20 years in federal prison, as well as a fine of up to $1 million for an individual or $5 million for an organization. Subsequent offenses can result in even harsher penalties.

In addition to imprisonment and fines, a conviction for drug importation can also result in other consequences, such as forfeiture of assets, deportation for non-citizens, and the loss of certain rights and privileges.

Common Legal Defenses for Illegal Drug Importation

If you have been charged with drug importation under 21 USC § 952, there are several legal defenses that may be available to you. These defenses can help you avoid conviction or reduce the severity of your penalties. Some of the most common legal defenses for drug importation include:

  • 1

    Lack of Knowledge or Intent:

    One of the most effective legal defenses for drug importation is to argue that you did not know that the drugs were in your possession or that you did not intend to import them. This defense is particularly relevant in cases where the drugs were hidden in luggage, packages, or other items without your knowledge. To prove lack of knowledge or intent, your defense attorney will need to present evidence that you had no idea the drugs were in your possession. This may include witness testimony, surveillance footage, or other evidence that demonstrates your lack of knowledge.

  • 2

    Unlawful Search and Seizure:

    1. Another common legal defense for drug importation is to argue that the drugs were obtained through an unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If law enforcement officers obtained the drugs through an illegal search or seizure, the evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court. Your defense attorney will need to demonstrate that the search or seizure violated your Fourth Amendment rights. This may involve challenging the legality of the search warrant or arguing that the officers did not have probable cause to conduct the search.

  • 3


    Entrapment is a legal defense that applies when law enforcement officers induce someone to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. This defense is often used in drug importation cases where an undercover officer persuades someone to transport drugs across the border. To use this defense, your defense attorney will need to prove that the officers' conduct induced you to commit the crime and that you would not have done so otherwise. This may involve presenting evidence of the officers' actions or demonstrating that you had no prior criminal history or intention to commit the crime.

  • 4


    1. Duress is a legal defense that applies when someone is forced to commit a crime under threat of harm. This defense may be relevant in drug importation cases where someone is coerced into transporting drugs across the border. To use this defense, your defense attorney will need to demonstrate that you acted under duress and that you had no reasonable alternative to committing the crime. This may involve presenting evidence of the threat, such as witness testimony or text messages.

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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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