Florida readers may have heard the buzz in the news lately about FedEx Corp., which was recently charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and drug trafficking in connection with deliveries to online pharmacies for their customers. FedEx, it is alleged, was part of a conspiracy to supply customers with prescription drugs illegally.
The fines for conviction are hefty: at least $820 million between FedEx and the pharmacies it was accused of conspiring with. FedEx has adamantly denied the charges and plans to defend itself in court. Accordingly, the company has pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, the government is continuing to investigate the issue in order to support additional or different charges.
From the sounds of it, there are bound to be numerous issues at play in any trial that goes forward. For one thing, FedEx claims that it had no criminal intent. The company also states that its gains from the deliveries were significantly lower than the number suggested by prosecutors.
Conspiracy charges can be a sticky business for prosecutors. For one thing, prosecutors must present evidence that the defendant knowingly and willingly participated in the supposed conspiracy. While these requirements are fairly minimal, proving these elements beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessarily a slam dunk for prosecutors. In the case of FedEx, the company asserts that it had no knowledge of any such conspiracy. It will be interesting to see how the FedEx case turns out when it goes to trial, particularly with respect to the strategy it uses.
Needless to say, anybody who faces criminal charges of drug conspiracy can certainly benefit from working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, particularly one who is well-versed in handling drug conspiracy cases.
Source: Bloomberg, “FedEx Pleads Not Guilty to Illegal Drug Shipping Charges,” Karen Gullo, July 29, 2014.