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Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Class A, B, C, D, or E)

The charge of Trafficking a Controlled Substance is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C, Sections 32E. Essentially, Trafficking a Controlled Substance in Massachusetts is the charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute combined with a specific minimum amount of the substance.  As stated in the Criminal Model Jury Instructions, the Commonwealth must prove five elements beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain its burden for the charge of Trafficking of a Class A (such as heroin, fentanyl, or morphine), Class B (such as cocaine), Class C (such as klonopin), Class D (such as marijuana), or Class E (such as prescription pills not covered in the other classes) substance:


  1. That the defendant possessed a certain substance;

  2. That the substance was a controlled substance;

  3. That the defendant possessed that controlled substance knowingly or intentionally;

  4. That the defendant had the specific intent to distribute, manufacture, dispense or cultivate the controlled substance; and

  5. That the amount of the controlled substance was a certain statutory amount or more.

To learn more about the circumstances that qualify as possession of a controlled substance, click here.  To learn more about what qualifies as Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute, click here.  To determine the amount of the controlled substance, it is the weight of the whole mixture and not just the weight of the applicable controlled substance in pure form that is considered.  The minimum statutory amount necessary to qualify as Trafficking varies based on the substance.  Below are the minimum statutory amounts for certain substances required for trafficking:


  • Heroin/Morphine/Opium: 18 grams or more

  • Cocaine: 18 grams or more

  • Fentanyl: 10 grams or more

  • Marijuana: 50 pounds or more

Nearly all Trafficking charges carry mandatory minimum sentences of incarceration.  The duration varies based upon certain threshold amounts of the substance.  For example, the threshold distinctions for the amount of cocaine or heroin are 18 grams – 36 grams, 36 grams – 100 grams, 100 grams – 200 grams, and 200 grams or more.  Each range carries a different mandatory minimum sentence, with each increasing range having a lengthier sentence.  

If you have been charged with Trafficking a Controlled Substance, it is important to speak to an experienced drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.  For a free consultation, contact Attorney Thaler at 781-366-0806 or at

To set up a free consultation, or for general inquiries, please use this form:

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