Flurry of meth lab busts in Jacksonville

June 29, 2012

Police broke up the second meth lab in six weeks at a Jacksonville motel, the latest in a string of raids cracking down on methamphetamine production in Northeast Florida. Investigators had found a meth lab in the same motel near the Clay County line in May, arresting four people in Jacksonville at that time, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. In the most recent bust, two people were arrested and police did not say whether the two cases were related. The production and use of methamphetamines is often associated with rural, outlying areas and most of the busts in Northeast Florida come in the surrounding counties, including Baker County, Clay County, Nassau County and Putnam County. But the arrests are trending upward in Duval County as it appears more and more police resources are being dedicated to fighting meth production and use. A prime example is the raid of an upscale home near the St. Johns Town Center this month where police found a meth lab inside.

Florida laws are extremely strict in meth cases and carry very serious penalties. Manufacturing methamphetamines is a second-degree felony in Jacksonville, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In most cases, prosecutors will tack on charges like possession of chemicals for manufacturing meth (another second-degree felony) or third-degree felonies such as possession of meth and possession of felony drug equipment. Duval County third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison. And there are no Florida misdemeanors in meth cases. Regardless of how much you have, it is a felony. By comparison, a person needs to have more than double that amount - over 20 grams - of marijuana, or else the case is still a misdemeanor. Florida law now requires signatures for people to buy some products that contain the chemical to make the drug, including some over-the-counter cough medications. Police routinely scours those registries to hunt down potential labs. The production also causes a strong, recognizable odor that is toxic to people in and around the lab. That distinct odor makes tips to the police fairly common about labs in more densely populated areas, such as apartment complexes or, in some of the recent cases, a motel. And because meth manufacturing can be so dangerous to people around, the penalties are enhanced if it is produced in a residences or dwelling if children are present. Right or wrong, methamphetamines are treated differently than many street drugs and the penalties can be severe and long-lasting. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney knows all of the possible penalties and enhancements involved with a meth charge and can advise you of all of your rights and options should you be the subject of an Jacksonville drug investigation. And if the current trends hold, expect more investigations and more charges in Jacksonville than we are accustomed to.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County drugs crimes attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.