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New Jersey man sentenced for giving ride to drug dealer

Most people in New Jersey understand that selling drugs can result in some very serious criminal penalties. However, what most people don't realize is that in many cases it is also a crime to simply be involved with a drug dealer.

Earlier this week, a New Jersey man was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for driving a drug dealer to pick up a shipment of heroin. The man says he was not aware that has passenger would be picking up drugs.

The man says that the alleged drug dealer was a long-time friend who asked for a ride to the airport. On the way, the dealer asked if they could make a stop to pick up some personal items. It was during this stop that the two were arrested.

Law enforcement became aware of the transaction and intercepted the heroin before it could be delivered. When the dealer arrived to pick it up, he and the driver were arrested by officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Initially, the driver was charged with conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent to distribute. However, when prosecutors could not prove that he was more deeply involved in the drug scheme, the charges were reduced to misprision of a felony for failing to notify authorities of a crime. He pleaded guilty to that offense in January.

The man had kept a clean record since an earlier conviction for selling counterfeit clothing and was just a few days away from marrying his fiancée when he was arrested. The case seems to be an instance of someone who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "North Bergen man is sentenced to 21 months for chauffeuring heroin dealer," Peter J. Sampson, April 24, 2013

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