Uruguayan Congress Increases Penalties for Cocaine Dealers

By Dialogo
November 08, 2012

The Uruguayan Congress, which is debating the legalization of marihuana, passed a bill on November 6, to increase prison sentences for the crimes of cocaine trafficking and its derivatives, as well as cases of police and military corruption.

Congress passed the bill – previously approved by the Senate – with the support of all political parties (57 votes of 57 attendees); therefore, it will be advanced to the Executive branch for its final sanction.

The new legislation dictates that those found guilty of cocaine trafficking-related crimes will be charged with a minimum of two to three years of imprisonment.

Despite an increase in the sentence, the bill considers mitigation when the amount seized is not significant and depending on whether the drug dealer did not sell drugs to minors. In these cases, judges will be able to apply alternative sentences.

If the offenders are police members, soldiers, legislators, or members of the Executive and Judiciary powers, the penalties will increase by one-third the sentence.

The bill is part of a package of measures submitted by President José Mujica in June, and it also includes the project for the “controlled legalization” of marihuana, which will be decided by Congress before the end of the year and then be submitted to the Senate for consideration.