Lincolnton, NC Woman Busted for Growing Marijuana, Trafficking Meth

A woman near Charlotte, NC was recently accused of hiding 22 grams of marijuana in a room behind a false wall on her property. Police said the woman, Pamela Lingerfelt, entered the hidden room through a trap door, where she was growing the illegal drug. In addition to the pot, police found 30 grams of methamphetamine and almost $2,000 in cash.

Lingerfelt faces numerous felony charges, among them possession with the intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine trafficking and maintaining a dwelling/vehicle for a controlled substance. She also faces two misdemeanor charges for possession of the drugs.

North Carolina Drug Crime Charges and Sentencing

North Carolina classifies illegal drugs into "schedules" according to its potential for abuse and danger to health. Schedule I drugs include heroin and ecstasy, and carry the most severe penalties. Marijuana is a Schedule VI drug, and in many cases possession is a misdemeanor charge.

As an example, if you had no prior drug possession convictions and were found with small amounts of heroin or ecstasy, you could face 4 to 5 months of jail time, whereas cocaine possession would get you no more than 45 days in jail. Possession charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on whether it is your first conviction, the type of drug and how much of the drug you have.

A charge of possession with intent to sell brings tougher sentencing. A police officer does not have to catch you in the act of selling the drug in order to prove intent to sell. Rather, the circumstances surrounding the arrest can factor into the charges. Evidence for intent to sell includes:

  • The amount of the drug in your possession
  • The drug distributed into small packages, such as in baggies
  • Large amounts of cash
  • Scales or other drug paraphernalia related to selling

Again, however, sentencing varies widely according to the class of the drug. For example, possession with intent to sell 10 lbs of marijuana will get you 25 - 30 months in jail and no less than a $5,000 fine. With methamphetamine, on the other hand, any amount over 28 grams gets you between 70 and 84 months of jail time and a $50,000 fine. The sentences also go up with the amount of the drug in your possession.

If you have been charged with drug crimes such as possession and trafficking, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.