Can you face the death penalty for a drug charge?

Federal officials have indicted 27 people in a drug conspiracy case. Unfortunately for these individuals, drug conspiracy is not the only charge they face. The conspiracy case also involves homicide, money laundering and sale of heroin, crack and more than 650 pounds of cocaine over several years in southeastern Wisconsin. Will some of them face the death penalty?

The federal death penalty is a possible punishment for charges against three of the men, including Kevin R. Arms, who they said is the kingpin of the operation. The operation has victimized neighborhoods by the destructive trafficking in illegal drugs, their use of firearms, and their use of dirty money. Several family members of the "kingpin" are also facing charges. One of those family members is his son, Kevin C. Arms, who is only 21 years old. He is facing charges of money laundering on allegations that they bought a boat, cars, motorcycles, houses, and expensive watches with drug money. So how does a homicide charge come into this conspiracy?

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's homicide database, only one person was slain in Milwaukee on the date — Nov. 16, 2008 — outlined in the federal indictment charging Kevin R. Arms, John Bailey, 37, and Phillip Moffett, 32, with homicide by firearm. Paula P. Jackson, 43, was shot to death that day in a car as she pulled into a tavern parking lot near the 4200 block of W. Burleigh St. A 49-year-old woman in Jackson's car was wounded.

Some of the defendants have been charged with selling drugs, while others are charged with allowing drugs or drug money to be kept at their homes and businesses. Among the assets seized by the government were 2008 and 2014 Cadillac Escalades, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a 21-foot fishing boat, early '70s muscle cars, sports cars, a pickup truck, a van and SUV, three men's Breitling chronograph watches, money from 2 companies and 11 homes on Milwaukee's near north side. Federal officials also seized a money judgment for $3 million.

Source: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 27 indicted in federal drug, homicide case in Milwaukee, Meg Jones, 4/16/14

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