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Drug trafficking laws in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Many people do not understand what drug trafficking really means. It is not, as some assume, a charge related to moving controlled substances from one place to another. That is more likely to incur distribution charges than trafficking.

Rather, drug trafficking involves possessing an illegal drug in large quantities. In the criminal justice system, this suggests that the purpose is to sell them. The severity of drug trafficking penalties depends on the type of drug and the amount that one possesses. Pitt and Davidson County Community Colleges provide information about the amounts of certain drugs one must possess to face trafficking charges.


Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug that has swift effects on the body. Possession of 28 to 199 grams of meth is a Class F felony in North Carolina, punishable by a $50,000 fine and 70 to 84 months in prison, or up to seven years. Possessing at least 400 grams is a Class C felony, punishable by 225 to 279 months in prison or a $250,000 fine.


Heroin is an illegal narcotic. Possession of comparatively small amounts can incur trafficking charges. A person can face Class C felony charges for possession of 28 grams, and as little as four to 13 grams is a Class F felony.

Opioid medications

Like heroin, opioid medications are narcotics. Unlike heroin, they have accepted medical uses as painkillers. Nevertheless, the potential for abuse of opioids is very high. According to UNC, trafficking opioid medications fell into a gray area within the law until 2018. Legislation passed that year closed a loophole regarding opioid trafficking by defining opioids as synthetic drugs not derived from opium but having similar effects to an opiate such as heroin.