You're suddenly startled by the feds knocking on your door. Someone must have squealed about the methamphetamine operation you've picked up as a hobby to try and save some money for your family. You quickly Google the punishment for evidence tampering and find some law firm's webpage.
Under U.S. Code 18 Section 1519, federal evidence tampering can be charged as a felony and is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
That doesn't sound so bad compared to the life sentence you would surely face as the convicted kingpin of a meth empire. Before opening the door and welcoming in the DEA, you quickly destroy documents that are crucial for a successful conviction. How does the US federal legal system deal with such a scenario?
Does the US legal system have specific mechanisms to ensure that evidence tampering does not allow one to reduce total punishment? As examples, can proof of evidence tampering be used as evidence of the original crime? Can a sentence for evidence tampering somehow scale to be at least as great as any crime it successfully covers up?
Alternatively, are there scenarios in the US legal system where destroying evidence could be the rational thing to do (assuming you will succeed in covering up the original crime but be convicted of evidence tampering)?
Assume US federal law.