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Drug Kingpin Defense Attorney in New York

Manhattan Drug Kingpin Defense Lawyer Representing Clients in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, and Beyond

The Drug Kingpin statute, officially known as the federal Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) statute, is designed to prosecute so-called drug lords or other high-level leaders of large drug trafficking organizations. The CCE statute makes it a felony to commit or conspire to commit a series of drug offenses that involve five or more people.

Penalties Under the Drug Kingpin Statue

The consequences of conviction under the Drug Kingpin statute are severe. They include decades or life in prison with no possibility of parole. In some cases, the death penalty can be imposed.

First offense: A first offense results in a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison, with a potential life sentence and a fine of at least $2 million for an individual and $4 million for defendants that are anything other than an individual.

Second offense:  The mandatory minimum for a second offense is 30 years in prison and a fine of at least $4 million for individual defendants and $10 million if the defendant is anything other than an individual. Sentences cannot be suspended and probation is not an option under the CCE statute.

Death sentence: If you killed or caused the intentional killing of another person, you may be sentenced to death.

If you have been charged with a violation of the Continuing Criminal Enterprise statue, it is crucial that you discuss your case with a federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Craig Trainor understands the seriousness of this charge and the nuances of the statute. He is well-equipped to defend you. He will protect your rights and work diligently to achieve the best possible resolution to your case.

The Burden of Proof in Drug Kingpin Cases

The prosecution has a heavy burden of proof in Drug Kingpin cases. To be convicted under this law,  the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

    1. You are guilty of the series of drug crimes you are charged with committing.
    2. You conspired with at least five other people.
    3. You were a leader or organizer who supervised five or more people in the commission of at least three drug crimes.
    4. The crimes were related.
    5. The crimes took place within a certain period of time.
    6. You derived substantial income or resources the drug trafficking enterprise.

Attorney Craig Trainor will identify and exploit the weaknesses in the case against you. He will make the prosecution prove every element of the case. If they cannot do so, the case against you cannot stand. For example:

  • The law does not specify what “substantial income or resources” means, leaving it open for interpretation.
  • If any of the three underlying crimes occurred in isolation, the defendant cannot be convicted under the CCE statute.

Drug Kingpin statute cases are complex, and the consequences of conviction include the most serious allowed by our criminal justice system. If you are facing this federal charge, it is important to have a skilled federal criminal defense attorney at your side throughout the process.

About the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute (CCE)

The Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute, or Drug Kingpin statute, targets large drug trafficking organizations that manufacture and distribute narcotics or produce a great deal of money. Those convicted under the statute serve life in prison without opportunity for parole.

The court needs to prove three “predicates” to designate someone a kingpin. The standard is quite high. For many years, prosecutors found they could achieve the same type of sentences by prosecuting drug defendants on individual charges rather than on the racketeering charge.

In recent years, use of the kingpin statute has become more popular. The 2015 Silk Road case involving sales of illegal items on the dark web helped to revive its use.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, please call 212-300-6557 or contact us online. We defend clients charged under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, and Westchester County.

Mr. Trainor has a unique set of skills and experience that position him
for success in your case


    Attorneys understand that a federal judge clerkship is a highly sought-after position. Mr. Trainor has used this experience to inform his work on behalf of those accused of crimes or harmed by police brutality and misconduct. The federal clerkship gave Mr. Trainor a keen understanding of how to build a winning case in federal court. He understands court procedures inside out and knows what types of arguments and evidence are persuasive.


    Mr. Trainor prosecuted hundreds of cases against people accused of crimes ranging from assault to identity theft to shoplifting to drug dealing. His criminal defense clients benefit from the insider’s perspective he gained in this position.

  • Federal and State Investigations

    Mr. Trainor spent three years focusing exclusively on defense of sophisticated white collar crimes, from public corruption to securities fraud. White collar criminal cases are highly complex and technically challenging. All of Mr. Trainor’s clients benefit from the depth of knowledge he has in financial crimes, investigation, and the use of experts in case development.

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