Nassau County Sheriff’s Office recently launched a campaign to bust people for selling and possessing drugs in Fernandina Beach, Yulee and Hilliard. According to a report in The Florida Times Union, “Operation Liquidation” has been ongoing for several months as an undercover buy/bust operation. The people busted were arrested for a myriad of drug charges including sale of cocaine, sale and possession of methamphetamine, sale of a controlled substance and sale of marijuana.
In many Florida drug bust cases, the narcotics officers posing as drug buyers approach a person and ask if they can buy drugs. Often times, the detectives are led to the “seller” by a confidential informant. This informant is usually working off a criminal case of their own hoping to make their situation better by setting up others. Once the introduction is made, police give marked money in return for the drugs. The police can make a Nassau County drug sale arrest right after the transaction or wait to conduct future sales. Police often use audio or video recording devices to chronicle the exchange. After the arrest is made, police attempt to get the suspect to confess to the sale.
Sale of drugs, from cocaine to controlled pills, is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Under Florida law, the substance sold has to be a controlled substance, such as heroin, cocaine, hydrocodone, etc. “Sale” is giving the drug to another person for money or something else of value agreed upon by both parties. If the quantity of the drugs is more than a set threshold under Florida law, the sale can transform to trafficking. When someone is charged with trafficking a substance, minimum mandatory sentences and immense fines come into play. Some people under Operation Liquidation were arrested for possessing drugs. “Possession” can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means you actually have the drug in your hand or on your person. Constructive possession means that you have control over the place where the drug is located. Possession of cocaine and heroin is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If you possess over twenty grams of marijuana, it is also a third degree felony. If under twenty grams, the Florida marijuana possession charge is a first degree misdemeanor.