Three triplet brothers were recently arrested for running a drug manufacturing operation out of their high-end apartments in downtown Raleigh. They face multiple charges, including selling and delivering a controlled substance, conspiracy, trafficking, and possession with intent to manufacture or distribute.
The brothers were pressing thousands of counterfeit Xanax bars, combining Xanax with a powerful synthetic opiate that has caused dozens of deaths nationwide, including 10 deaths in North Carolina. The bars may also have been combined with the opioid Fentanyl.
Drug manufacturing in our state is a felony-level offense, and the brothers face decades of prison time. Although this case is extreme, it highlights the serious legal consequences of drug manufacture and related charges.
Since North Carolina’s drug manufacturing laws get very specific, it may be easier to be brought up on drug manufacturing charges than you might expect. Below we cover exactly how North Carolina defines drug manufacturing, and give specific examples about what does and does not constitute drug manufacturing in our state.
How North Carolina Defines Drug Manufacturing
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act outlines North Carolina’s drug laws, including the definition of drug manufacturing.
In North Carolina, drug manufacturing can be defined by any of the following acts:
- Production, preparation, cultivation, compounding, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance through any means, including direct and indirect means, natural and artificial means, or extraction of controlled substances from a natural origin.
- Packaging or repackaging of a controlled substance, or labeling or relabeling a container of a controlled substance.
This means that drug manufacture includes not only the synthesis of controlled substances, but also compounding or repackaging controlled substances. For example, in the case above, the suspects were buying controlled substances and pressing them into pills, which they then sold. Even though they were not “making” the drugs, they were compounding and repackaging them.
Drug manufacture can also include the cultivation of marijuana, or the extraction of marijuana concentrate for so-called “dabbing.” Although marijuana charges are generally lesser than other drug offenses, cultivation of marijuana or production of marijuana concentrate is automatically a felony-level charge of drug manufacture in North Carolina.
Exceptions to Drug Manufacturing in North Carolina
North Carolina drug manufacturing laws make an exception for preparing or compounding a controlled substance for one’s own use. This means that if you were only producing the substance in question for yourself (for example, by cultivating marijuana for your own use), this does not constitute drug manufacturing. However, proving that you had no intention to sell or distribute the substance can be difficult.
The laws also make an exception for licensed practitioners compounding or dispensing controlled substance to treat patients, or as a part of research, in which case the substance cannot be offered for sale. This is in place to protect pharmacists and physicians.
North Carolina Charges Related to Drug Manufacturing
In addition to actual manufacture of controlled substances, you can also be charged with maintaining a dwelling or vehicle for narcotic manufacture so long as it can be proven that you knew or should have known that drug manufacturing was occurring.
Other related charges include:
- Simple possession
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession with intent to sell or deliver
- Trafficking of a controlled substance
- Conspiracy to traffick controlled substances
What about sentencing?
As with any drug crime, the exact charges and sentencing will depend on the amount of substance(s) you are found to be in possession of. However, you can expect for drug manufacturing to always be charged at the felony level, and you will most likely face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.
Your best defense against that happening is to work with a knowledgeable North Carolina criminal attorney.