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Exporting a Controlled Substance

Federal law prohibits the exportation of narcotic drugs from the U.S. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, so if you have been accused of exporting drugs out of the country, you should contact an experienced federal crimes lawyer who can help you begin formulating a defense.

Controlled Substances

The federal law prohibiting the exportation of narcotics only applies to Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs. Schedule I drugs include substances with no currently accepted medical use that have a high potential for abuse, such as: heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and Ecstasy. Schedule II drugs are those that are believed to have a high potential for abuse and which could lead to severe dependence, including Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, Dilaudid, morphine, codeine, and opium. Schedule III substances are believed to have less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs, although their use could lead to high psychological dependence. This category includes Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, Ketamine, and Depo-Testosterone. Finally, Schedule IV drugs are those considered to have a low potential for abuse and include Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium.


Under federal law, it is illegal to export any of these drugs out of the U.S., unless they are being exported to a country that is a party to:

  • The International Opium Convention of 1912;
  • The Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs; or
  • The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Additionally, the receiving country must have instituted and maintained a system for the control of the importation of narcotic drugs and:

  • The narcotic must be consigned to a license holder;
  • A permit to import must have been issued by the receiving country;
  • A permit to export must have been issued by the Attorney General;
  • The drug must be used exclusively for medical or scientific uses; and
  • There must be an actual need for the drug in the receiving country.

Exporting drugs out of the U.S. requires compliance with countless procedures and even one wrong turn can lead to federal charges of drug exportation. The severity of the penalties assessed depends on the type and amount of drug that were allegedly exported. For example, those who are accused of exporting less than 100 grams of a Schedule I or II drug, such as heroin could be required to pay up to $ 1 million in fines and spend 20 years in prison. A second offense for exporting this amount of heroin could result in a 30 year prison sentence. Exporting Schedule III substances of any weight could mean 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, while trafficking in Schedule IV narcotics of any weight is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Call Today to Discuss Your Case With a Dedicated Federal Crimes Lawyer

Please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami at (305) 670-9919 today if you are being investigated for or have been accused of exporting a controlled substance, so we can begin evaluating your case as soon as possible. We are eager to assist you with your case.



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