A procedural issue of great importance to parties accused of conspiracy is whether government prosecutors try to frame the conspiracy as a "hub-and-spoke conspiracy" or a "chain conspiracy." In a hub-and-spoke conspiracy, many parties (the spokes), conspire with one person (the hub), but not with other defendants. It is advantageous for a defendant to have its actions characterized as part of a hub-and-spoke conspiracy, because that means that the conspiracies are separate and disconnected.
In contrast to a hub-and-spoke conspiracy, a chain conspiracy involves several parties as links in one long criminal chain. Defendants in chain conspiracies are responsible for the actions of all participants in the chain, even if they never met some of the other participants in the chain. There are defenses to the crime of conspiracy. Thus, it is important to hire counsel who have experience in this area of the law.
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It depends on the facts and how the conspiracy is laid out. One can implicate others' knowledge, where the other may alleviate knowledge of the person's activities at the other end of the chain. Provide us some facts to clarify the classification.
One must ask: How many people do I know that are involved in the crime. Many times, defendants say "I don't even know all but one of the other defendants!" This would be an example of a "chain" conspiracy. On the other hand, if all defendants have one person in common, this can be an example of a "hub and spoke" conspiracy.
In the end, it doesn't matter other than to make a calculation as to who may testify against the concerned defendant. In federal cases, this happens to be the most important question.
The structure of an alleged drug conspiracy is clear in the analogy of one center with many clear connections to said center(The Hub "H" is directly but separately connected with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 the spokes who are individually connected to the lower levels of the operation.) as compared to one connection to another and so on(A to B, B to C, C to D, D to E, etc.) The proofs necessary to support the government's position is different.
In the Hub and Spoke conspiracy 1 cannot, usually, implicate 2 to H because 1 and 2 are not connected or aware of each other. In the chain conspiracy A cannot implicate E for the same reasons. Many other examples are available. If this is a speculative hypothetical question I have just scratched the surface of the intricacy. If this question is based in a real case only an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is qualified to address your concerns.
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