Articles Posted in Marijuana Crimes in Jacksonville

Police searched a Northeast Florida home and found what they described as an elaborate marijuana grow operation and seized plants with a street value of tens of thousands of dollars.  Police said they received a search warrant to look inside the home and found 72 mature marijuana plants and marijuana that had already been picked from the plants, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The drugs found inside the home were worth about $80,000, the newspaper reported. When police eventually left the home, they took two truckloads of lights, irrigation systems and other materials used in the alleged grow operation, the newspaper reported.

The man is charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, the newspaper reported. The cultivation and possession charges are both third-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. The drug paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor and any time done on that charge would be in county jail, not in state prison. The two felonies are the important charges in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Charges and potential penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases are based on two main components: the type of drug a person is accused of having and how much of it police find on his or her person. And of the common street drugs people are accused of possessing, charges for marijuana are by far the most lenient, meaning the minimum amounts for serious charges are far higher than for drugs that include cocaine and prescription pain pills. For example, when people have more than 300 plants, they can be charged with drug trafficking and the St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case then becomes a first-degree felony. In this case, the man had 72 plants and isn’t even 25 percent of the way there, despite having what police said is $80,000 worth of marijuana. The threshold of 20 grams to constitute a felony is also far higher than for any other drug. With cocaine, for example, there is no amount that constitutes a misdemeanor. Any amount is a felony.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people on all types of drug charges. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will fully investigate your case and provide you with information so you or your loved one can make the best possible decision going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A judge ruled St. Johns County should not have immediately condemned the home rented by a couple now charged with growing marijuana.  The judge ruled this week the couple could return to their home for two weeks to gather personal items, as well as the fish living in seven aquariums that may or may not still be alive after not being tended to in a month, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The couple was arrested in February, charged with possession of marijuana, possession of equipment used to manufacture drugs and producing marijuana. All three of these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison, meaning both are facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The important point to note in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case is the defendants have only been arrested and charged. Neither one has been convicted of any crime. Both are out on bail while the St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case works its way through the court system. The couple maintains they were legally growing the marijuana for medical use and did not break any laws, the newspaper reported.  In order to legally condemn the house and remove the couple from the home, the county would have had to prove the home was an “imminent and substantial danger to life or health,’ the newspaper reported, and the judge ruled the county didn’t do so. Initial news reports indicated the couple was extracting oil from the marijuana, which could be dangerous and cause and explosion – which led to the decision to condemn the home. Instead of giving the residents time to respond or collect their belongings – including living beings such as the fish – the county immediately taped off the home and barred anyone from entering.

St. Johns County Drug Charges can be very serious and are generally based on the type of drug found and the amount the person is accused of possessing. Most manufacturing cases involve methamphetamines, and those charges carry more severe penalties that those involving marijuana. This St. Johns County Drug Case will be interesting because, although medicinal marijuana is not broadly legal in the state of Florida, there are some rare exemptions people can receive to grow the drug. It does not appear this couple had obtained one, but that will likely be played out in court over the next few months.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people accused of all sorts of drug crimes, including those involving cultivating marijuana. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly review your case, including the details of how the arrest was handled, and then provide you with information so you can make a decision on how to proceed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police arrested a father and son last month in St. Johns County, accusing the two of growing marijuana in their home. Both men are charged with cultivating marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Cultivation of marijuana is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in county jail, so obviously the cultivation charge is the one both men will be most concerned about in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Police raided the home after hearing complaints from neighbors, but when they got there the plants had already been harvested, the newspaper reported. Police said they found enough lights and other equipment to charge the men with cultivation, the newspaper reported, though that could be problematic in terms of proving this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case beyond a reasonable doubt. Cultivation of marijuana becomes a second-degree felony is more than 25 plants are found. Second-degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Marijuana cultivation penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases were increased in 2008 with the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act. The act significantly decreased the number of plants needed for a second-degree felony charge from 300 down to 25.

Police will have to present evidence in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case that shows a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the men were running a grow operation. It’s not impossible without the actual plants, but it does make it more difficult. One avenue police will likely explore in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case is getting one of the defendants to testify against the other and provide information about the grow operation. An early indication would be the father is the mastermind of the operation. The newspaper reported the father was not offered a bond in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, but the son could have been freed with a bond of about $10,000.

Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes – from possession to sale to cultivation. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney knows the ins and outs of Florida Drug Crimes Laws and will investigate your case and lay out all of your options so you can make the best decision going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A Miami man is facing felony drug trafficking charges after police found 30 bricks of marijuana in a dog food bag during a traffic stop on the interstate. Police estimated the marijuana was worth $120,000 and arrested Roger Aguilera for trafficking in marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Trafficking in marijuana is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The charge also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison. Possession with intent to sell in Florida is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, so obviously the trafficking charge is the one for Aguilera to be most concerned about.

The news reports do not specify exactly how much marijuana was taken, but for it to qualify as a trafficking charge in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, it was a significant amount. In Florida, a person must have at least 25 pounds of marijuana for the state to charge a person with trafficking in marijuana. For other types of drugs, trafficking applies with a fraction of that amount – 28 grams for cocaine and just 14 grams for oxycodone and other prescription drugs. Aguilera was stopped in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case because the tinting on his windows was too dark, the newspaper reported. Once police approached the car, they said Aguilera was acting nervous and police asked to search the car, the newspaper reported. Police said Aguilar gave them permission and that’s when police saw the dog food bag and found the marijuana, the newspaper reported.

It would have been interesting to see how police would have handled the situation if Aguilar had not given permission to search the car. An officer would need probable cause and just acting suspicious is not enough. The news report does say police smelled marijuana, but that was after they started searching the car. Aguilar certainly had the right to decline to have his car searched and it is reasonable to expect that conversation will get plenty of attention in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. If Aguilar did not fully understand his rights, what the officer was asking of him or that he had the right to say no, there could be grounds to try to have the traffic stop suppressed. And without the traffic stop, police do not have a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. That may sound ludicrous because, either way, Aguilar still had more than 25 pounds of marijuana bricks stuffed in a dog food bag. But, there are certain rules and procedures police must follow. Officers cannot go around just searching cars to search cars – especially cars they pull over just because of their window tint. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney knows those rules and procedures inside out and can investigate all aspects of the stop to determine if there could be a reason to have the stop thrown out.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Five men were arrested in a marijuana growing operation, alleged to include two 40-foot cargo trailers buried in a Clay County bunker. The five were charged with cultivation of marijuana and two of the men were also charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said it was one of the largest grow operations in Clay County in recent years and local, state and federal investigators were all involved in the case, the newspaper reported.

There is one magic number in the case for prosecutors: 300. According to Florida drug statutes, that’s the number of plants that triggers a first-degree felony. That means up to 30 years in prison and, if the state chooses to file it, a three-year minimum mandatory sentence. As it stands now, the five men are all charged with cultivation of marijuana, a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and no minimum mandatory sentence. According to the newspaper report, police found 216 plants at one location and 78 at another – bringing the total to 294. Police also seized other items in the raid last week, including three grocery bags of loose marijuana, more than six pounds of processed marijuana and a pick-up truck, the newspaper reported. Police said there were at least four sites used to grow the marijuana, so coming up with an additional six plants does not appear to be too difficult in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case. What may prove more difficult, however, is tying specific plants to individual defendants to reach the 300 plant threshold. In Clay County Drug Crimes Cases such as this, investigators will often focus in on one or two people leading the organization. There are already two men who are facing a possession with intent to sell charge, another third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. In many cases, police will charge several people, five in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case, and then look for more information from those arrested. Sometimes, there’s nothing like some time in jail – and the threat of more time in state prison – to get people to start talking and implicating others.

Police said this Clay County Drug Crimes Case is part of a larger, well-organized operation across Florida, and that the initial tip came during a traffic stop in South Florida, the newspaper reported. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney would expect to see more charges, more arrests and some sort of trafficking charges added as police sift through this Clay County Drug Crimes Case. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people arrested on all types of drug charges – from possession to trafficking – involving all types of illegal drugs – from marijuana to crack cocaine.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A St. Johns County man is facing charges of cultivation of marijuana after a tip led police to 157 marijuana plants the man is accused of growing. Michael Colvin was arrested last week and after someone alerted police to what they described as an elaborate growing operation, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Colvin is charged with a second-degree felony and faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted. Just five years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case.

Florida lawmakers in 2008 passed the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, and one key change in the law is now affecting how much time Colvin is facing. The threshold for the number of plants a person must possess to be charged with cultivating marijuana was reduced from 300 all the way down to 25. The new law picks up plenty of people in the middle, as it did Colvin in this St. Johns County Marijuana Cultivation case. Colvin’s case was turned over the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to be investigated. Police often use electric utility records as evidence in St. Johns County Marijuana Cultivation cases because growing marijuana requires an extensive amount of light – far more than an ordinary household would use.

Police found the marijuana in two separate buildings, the newspaper reported, but it was unclear whether the grow operation was inside a home or in more commercial style buildings. Another change that was part of the 2008 state law allows the state to simply take pictures of the grow equipment and use the photographs as evidence if the case ultimately goes to trial. Prosecutors were previously required to keep the equipment. It doesn’t sound like much, but the operations are often complicated and police said the space needed to keep all of the equipment on hand until a trial was a hindrance to investigations. The law also made it a first-degree felony to grow marijuana in a home occupied by children, though that does not appear to apply in Colvin’s St. Johns County Marijuana case.

Police also say they recovered a stolen shotgun when they found the marijuana, but it does not appear that Colvin has been charged yet in connection with the gun. His bond was set at $5,000 – a relatively low amount for a felony drug charge – and Colvin is now out of jail awaiting a trial. One key to the case will be if police will be able to prove that Colvin was selling the marijuana once it was cultivated, assuming the plants have been harvested at least once. Sale charges can up the ante and increase the defendant’s prison time exposure in the case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in St. Johns County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Marijuana Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A tip from a neighbor led police to a Jacksonville home where they found 36 marijuana plants and other evidence of a grow operation inside the residence. When police arrived, they smelled the odor of burning marijuana, knocked on the door and Derrick Anton Warren let the officers inside, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Once inside, police found 36 pot plants inside a bedroom, two garbage bags of freshly picked marijuana and dried processed marijuana throughout the home, as well as empty cultivation pots, the newspaper reported. Warren was arrested for Jacksonville Cultivation of Marijuana, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. While he certainly would have always faced some prison time for having large quantities of pot and plants in his home – a fairly new law passed by the Florida legislature in 2008 put an additional hurting on smaller-scale pot growers like Warren.

The law, part of a legislative crackdown on marijuana in Florida, now makes it a second-degree felony to grow 25 or more plants – a fraction of the previous threshold of 300 plants. The law, called the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, also made it a first-degree felony (punishable by up to 30 years in prison) to grow 25 or more plants in a home with children present, though there were no indications from the newspaper report that children were living in Warren’s home. The 2008 law also makes owning a house for the purpose of cultivating, packaging and distributing marijuana a third-degree felony in Duval County, punishable by up to five years in prison. The law also made it easier for law enforcement to collect evidence – a subtle change that is important once cases get down the road for a potential trial. Police used to have to find places to store the large grow equipment, often a comprehensive labyrinth of lights and wires, to preserve it as evidence. The change in the law allowed police to simply take pictures of the equipment, making it easier to move forward from a prosecution perspective.

Time will tell how much evidence police have against Warren, outside of what they found inside his home. Police in Duval County, Clay County and St. Johns County commonly use electric utility records to help cases – sometimes even to initiate an investigation – because growing pot takes a significant amount of light and people who grow typically use several times more electricity that the average consumer. And according to what is out now, Warren appears to have voluntarily let the police inside his home. Who knows exactly how that conversation occurred, but you do not have to let police into your home unless they have a warrant to search it. And if they were only acting on a tip from a neighbor, they likely do not have had enough evidence for a judge to sign a warrant. The ideal scenario in such an instance would be for the homeowner to not let police in and immediately call a Jacksonville Marijuana Lawyer to discuss the situation.

If you or a loved one needs a drug crimes attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office police officer has been arrested on pot charges in Duval County. According to a report in the Florida Times Union, Maurice Boykins was a corrections officer at the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility. He has been accused of selling marijuana in Jacksonville to an inmate. The actual charge he was arrested for is Unlawful Compensation or Reward for Official Behavior, which is a second degree felony in Jacksonville. If convicted of this Duval felony, Boykins is facing up to fifteen years in prison.

An inmate in the Jacksonville jail told police Boykins was delivering marijuana to him. The inmate told investigators that he has been in jail for over three years and was befriended by the corrections officer. He further alleges that Boykins asked him if he smoked marijuana and the inmate said yes. Officer Boykins allegedly explained that if the inmate needed something, all he had to do was get his people on the outside to bring the drugs to the jail and he (the officer) would get it to the inmate. According to the report, Boykins gave the inmate six dime bags and the officer was paid $150.00 for each delivery. The inmate alleges that when his visitor would arrive to the inmate’s floor, he or she would signal to the officer that they have a package. The inmate then watched for Officer Boykins to be alone in the control room. Once Boykins was alone, the inmate sends the visitor to the window and that is where the money and drugs are exchanged. Boykins allegedly then handed the pot to the inmate.

Jacksonville police conducted a covert operation to test the inmate’s allegations. The confidential source went to the floor where Boykins worked and allegedly exchanged $150.00 for a bag of contraband. After this transaction, the officer was detained and interviewed. Police say he admitted to moving the drugs.

If you have been arrested for any drug sale charge in Jacksonville, it is important to speak to an Experienced Marijuana Attorney in Duval County. Call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Putnam County detectives conducted the first major synthetic marijuana bust on the First Coast since the increasingly popular drug was banned in Florida as of July 1.
Narcotics detectives confiscated 2,500 packets of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, at 10 different stores, according to a report by News4Jax.com. Police did not make any arrests during the busts, instead saying this was part of the educational phase to get the product off the shelves and inform businesses that it is now illegal. The new law makes it a felony to sell the synthetic marijuana, which is often marketed as potpourri or incense. It is a Jacksonville third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Possession of synthetic marijuana is a misdemeanor, similar to possession of traditional marijuana.

There have been other raids across the state, but none that have been reported in Clay County, Duval County, Nassau County or St. Johns County. Those are likely on the way. The Putnam approach is fairly typically when a new law is first on the books. Police tend to begin with an educational campaign to make sure all of the businesses know the law and how it will be enforced. And while it seems fair and a nice gesture by authorities, what they are doing is building a record if they need it for court down the road. A judge may balk at charges if a slew of business owners are hauled into court shortly after a new law is enacted. The business owner could claim ignorance and, though that is not a defense, it may seem reasonable to the judge. But, if police can show a pattern, such as the business being raided and warned several times before the manager or owner is arrested on Florida drug charges, the charges are much more likely to stick.

This is a standard police procedure, even for laws that have been on the books for decades. For example, undercover narcotics detectives will often go back to the same street drug dealer three or four times and buy drugs before eventually arresting him or her on Jacksonville Drug Sale Charges. The result will be three or four Duval Drug Charges stacked on the same defendant. That way, if there are issues with a case in terms of a recording or some of the evidence, there are other cases to fall back on. Once the synthetic marijuana laws have been around for a few more months, expect to see police getting more aggressive in enforcement. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has studied the new law and will be keeping a close eye on how police react to it in Clay County, Duval County, Nassau County and St. Johns County.

If you or a loved one needs a Drug Crimes Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County drug crimes attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

University of Florida defensive tackle, Leon Orr, was in a diversion program for possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia charges in Gainesville. According to an article on ESPN.com, while in this program, he received a ticket for Florida Driving on a Suspended License, which is considered a misdemeanor crime. While in this diversion program, Orr was to pay a fine and perform community service hours. After receiving this Florida driving citation, Orr was kicked out of the program and is now facing all crimes in court. His next court date is June 21, 2012.

A Diversion Program in Jacksonville is a device used by the state attorney’s office to divert cases from the criminal justice system. Once someone completes the program, their Duval County criminal charges will be dropped. There are several forms of this program and it typically reserved for first-time offenders. For Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes, the diversion program is called the Youth Offender Program. (also referred to as YOP) If you are arrested in Jacksonville as an adult, there are several diversion options available. The most common Duval County diversion program is called the Pretrial Intervention Program. (also referred to as PTI) If your Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is able to get you into PTI, there are certain conditions that must be met. Some conditions of the pretrial diversion program are completion of community service hours, payment of restitution owed and completion of classes. Another diversion program in Jacksonville is called “Drug Court”. The City of Jacksonville implemented this court to address people who have been arrested in Jacksonville for crimes they likely would not have committed if they had not been on drugs. Drug court takes from one year to 18 months to complete and includes intensive outpatient drug treatment, random testing for drugs and many court appearances.

If you have been arrested in Duval, Clay or Nassau Counties, you should talk to an experienced Northeast Florida Criminal Defense Attorney. If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a diversion program. Call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 to speak to our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Musallem. Our Duval Attorney is available to discuss your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week