In his latest attempt to crack down on drug smuggling in the state, Governor John Kasich announced his support of a proposed law that would make having a secret compartment in your vehicle a fourth degree felony. The compartment wouldn’t actually have to be used for drugs for you to be charged, its mere existence would be enough.
The Governor held a news conference, with a pickup truck stacked with heroin, cocaine, and marijuana serving as his backdrop, to get people on board with the latest efforts at reducing the drug trade in Ohio.
“A lot of the people that are dealing these drugs are after our kids,” he said when discussing a new number for motorists to call with drug activity tips. “When you see something, call this number.”
According to officials, so far in 2012, state patrol has seized more heroin in the state than in all of 2011. Last year, they made 6,000 drug arrests, up 9% from 2010. They also confiscated 6 million grams of drugs, valued at about $69.5 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The secret compartment law wouldn’t affect those cars with factory-built hidden compartments, but those which are added on. The law calls these compartments, a “’space, box, or other closed container’ that is added, modified or attached to an existing vehicle,” says the Dispatch report.
In the drug trafficking trade, such compartments are often stashed full with drugs. They seem to also get more and more complex each year, as traffickers must try harder to outsmart law enforcement. But this law wouldn’t make it illegal to have a secret compartment filled with drugs, merely having the compartment would be crime enough.
While law enforcement officers rarely find empty secret compartments, the law would allow the courts to further penalize people found transporting drugs. So, rather than only facing serious felony charges for drug trafficking, you will face additional charges for the compartment the drugs were stored in.
This could mean the difference between 7 years in prison and 11 years in prison, and when you’re behind bars, every single month is an eternity.
The state of Ohio does have a drug trafficking problem. At the center of several Interstate connections, drugs often come through the state as well as mark the state as a final destination. Because of this, lawmakers want to really stick it to people accused of drug offenses, penalizing them as swiftly and severely as possible.
If you are facing drug charges in Ohio, we may be able to help. Whether it’s a possession charge or a charge of drug trafficking, contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case.