You may see some folks referred to as a “kingpin” by himself/herself or by admirers. However, the law of the land is specific on what it takes for a person to be a kingpin. The legal definition of a kingpin is summed up by Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code, 21 U.S.C. § 848. This federal statute is commonly referred to as the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute (CCE), or “kingpin charge.” It deals largely with high-profile drug traffickers, making it different from the RICO Act, which covers a wide range of racketeering.
The CCE statute punishes individuals who conspire to continually violate Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. In order to be convicted under this statute, must play the role of “principal administrator, organizer, or leader” of a narcotics enterprise consisting of five or more other people. Furthermore, the kingpin in such an enterprise must have received $10 million in proceeds from that enterprise in any given calendar year, at least. They must have also held at least 300 times the amount of narcotics that would’ve gotten them a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession.
Anyone convicted on the kingpin charge faces a minimum of 20 years in prison, even if it’s their first conviction. It is not uncommon for these individuals to be slapped with a life sentence for their dealings. There is no possibility for parole with this sentence. In fact, probation, parole and suspended sentences are prohibited when it comes to the CCE statute. On top of the time, the kingpin must pay a fine of up to $2 million. The death penalty awaits those who have been proven to kill anyone during the operation of their enterprise.
Read the full Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, or kingpin charge, here.