The Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute: RICO’s Little Brother
There are laws for almost anything. You have read about a variety of them by following this blog each week. Many of them are incredibly practical for your day-to-day life. Some of them are bigger than any one person but are important causes about which to know and get behind. A few of them are just interesting to learn about.
In all likelihood, this week’s topic is just going to be interesting to learn about. It is called the “continuing criminal enterprise” statute.
RICO and Its Little Brother, CCE:
In June of last year, you learned about the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO for short. In that post, RICO was defined as being “in a position of ‘organizer, supervisor, or manager’ for any kind of racketeering activity.” The list of racketeering activity mentioned included “murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, and drug crimes.”
If RICO had a little brother, it would be the continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) statute. According to a 1993 report from the Office of Justice Programs, the CCE statute “targets only drug traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate conspiracies.” It has a much more specific application, despite the slipperiness of the phrase “long-term and elaborate conspiracies.”
The Legal Requirements of CCE:
The CCE statute is related to RICO in that the violator of this statute must be “the principal administrator, organizer, or leader of the enterprise…” Interestingly, the law is specific about the enterprise requiring 5 or more persons. Even with the CCE statute, a leader, by definition, must have followers – in this case, at least 5.
There are many other stipulations as well, but it is most important to note that the enterprise must also lead to “substantial income or resources.” This is another term that can be a little difficult to pin down. Maybe you just always know it when you see it.
The penalties for leading a continuing criminal enterprise are stiff. A first offense carries a prison sentence of 20 years to life and a fine of up to $2,000,000 for individuals.
In the Code of Virginia, the term “continuing criminal enterprise” appears in the context of drug crimes. If a distributor is not found to be “an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense,” then mandatory minimums for those crimes do not apply. The term also appears in two other places as part of the definition of capital murder.
In other words, CCE might be RICO’s little brother, but it is incredibly serious when applied to any defendant.
Again, some laws govern our daily lives, and some are just out there – necessary in rare occurrences but typically nonexistent in everyday life. The CCE statute is one of them. However, whether large or small, charges against you are serious and worthy of hiring the best defense attorney you can find. If this is your need today, call or e-mail for a free consultation!
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