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Why is FedEx facing federal drug charges?

Given the rate at which Internet shopping has exploded in popularity over the last decade, it’s safe to say that one of the biggest beneficiaries has been not just the companies selling their goods and services, but also shipping giants like UPS and, of course, FedEx.

Interestingly enough, the federal government is arguing that the FedEx Corp. has profited illegally from this online shopping boom, particularly due to its association with illegal online pharmacies.

Does this mean that FedEx is actually facing federal drug charges?

Yes. This past summer, the Justice Department filed an indictment claiming that it had issued warnings to the shipping giant dating back to 2004 over its shipping of illegal prescription drugs purchased from black market online pharmacies.

Specifically it charged FedEx with a host of crimes, including distribution of controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering to name only a few.

How has FedEx responded?  

The FedEx Corp. has maintained its innocence throughout. In fact, it filed a motion in federal court just last week seeking to have the case thrown out on the grounds that it’s a common carrier that handles over ten million packages each day and, as such, can’t be reasonably expected to carefully inspect the contents of each one for illegal materials.   

What is a common carrier?

A common carrier is essentially a transportation company that provides services to the public and indiscriminately moves cargo in exchange for a fee. By way of example, consider airlines, trucking companies and railroads.

How important is this case?

Legal experts indicate that this is an extremely important case, as it will help determine just how much criminal liability transportation companies can face for the contents of the packages they are tasked with delivering.

What happens to FedEx if it’s ultimately found guilty?

The Justice Department has indicated that FedEx could face a fine of up to $1.6 billion, which it says is twice the revenue the shipping giant made via these so-called illegal activities. For its part, FedEx has also disputed this amount.

Stay tuned for updates on this important and fascinating drug crime case …

Remember, if you are under investigation or have been charged with any sort of federal drug crime, it’s imperative to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible given the stakes involved. 

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