Recently in Drug Crimes in Jacksonville Category

Former Atlantic Beach police chief arrested on 19 felony drug charges

October 10, 2014

The former chief of police in Atlantic Beach is now facing more than 20 charges, including drug trafficking and tampering with evidence after police raided his home last month. The chief was placed on administrative leave last month because he was part of an active criminal investigation and resigned four days later, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He turned himself in a week later and is charged with 18 counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of trafficking in codeine, possession of drug paraphernalia and evidence tampering.

Trafficking in codeine is by far the most serious of the charges - a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. The 18 drug possession charges are all third-degree felonies and carry a penalty of up to five years in state prison. Evidence tampering, which comes from disposing of a computer that allegedly was used to buy the steroids from abroad, is also a third-degree felony. The overwhelming majority of the drugs found in the case were anabolic steroids and believed to be solely for personal use, the newspaper reported. Police have not reported any evidence that the chief was in fact selling the substances. However, trafficking charges can be made solely on the amount one is accused of possessing - regardless of intent to sell - in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases. The trafficking charge is likely for the bottle of hydrocodone pills investigators found when they searched the chief's home. They also found a duffle bag with 11 bags of anabolic steroids and 13 bottles also believed to be steroids. Steroids are sometimes used by body builders and athletes to build muscle and decrease recovery time from injuries, but the substances are illegal and banned by most major sports organizations.

Jacksonville Drug Crimes Charges are always based on the type of drug and the amount of the drug. As is apparent in this case, the chief had a significant amount of steroids and an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told the newspaper investigators were "shocked by the amount we found." But because of the way Florida law addresses steroids, there isn't anything more severe than a third-degree felony for possession. Compare that to one bottle of pills that warrants a trafficking charge and a first-degree felony. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney knows the requirements and penalties associated with drug possession and trafficking charges and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

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 Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Two arrested in St. Johns County on meth charges following lengthy investigation

September 12, 2014

A man and a woman living together in St. John County were arrested on felony drug charges this month, accused of making and selling methamphetamines. Police investigated the couple for three months and obtained a search warrant that was served last week, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When police searched the property, they said they found an inactive meth lab, chemicals used to make meth, methamphetamine oil and drug paraphernalia, the newspaper reported. Both are charged with trafficking methamphetamines, maintaining a drug dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trafficking charge is a first-degree felony and by far the most serious, carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Maintaining a drug dwelling is a second-degree felony that carries up to 15 years in prison, while the paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor and would not include time in state prison - only up to a year in the county jail.

This St. Johns County Drug Crimes case has especially significant prison time attached because of the amount of the drug the pair is accused of having. With methamphetamines, trafficking begins with 14 grams. There are minimum mandatory sentences in St. Johns County Drug Trafficking Cases and they vary based on the amount of the drug police find. In this St. Johns County Drug Crimes case, the couple is accused of having more than 200 grams of methamphetamine - far more than the 14 gram threshold. With more than 200 grams, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For between 28 and 200 grams, the minimum mandatory sentence was less than half in both areas -- seven years with a $100,000 fine.
Felony degrees and maximum penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases are based primarily on two main factors: The type of drug a person is caught with and the amount of the drug. For example, a person accused of having 15 grams of meth is looking at a trafficking charge and years behind bars. If someone is caught with the same amount of marijuana, the crime is a misdemeanor and prison time is not even possible. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes attorney knows the details of Florida's drug laws and can help lay out the potential penalties and investigate the case fully to help you or your loved one know determine the best course of action 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.

Dozens arrested on drug charges as part of Operation Summer Slam in Clay County

September 2, 2014

Clay County police arrested 35 people and were seeking more than a dozen more, predominantly on charges of selling drugs that date back to February. Police began the months-long investigation looking into people selling prescription drugs, but ended up expanding the probe to other controlled substances, including marijuana and cocaine, according to a report on News4Jax. Twenty-nine people were arrested on Clay County Drug Charges for selling narcotics, and six more were picked up on other charges when police executed the warrants on the intended targets, the television station reported. There were outstanding warrants for about a dozen people following the sweep of arrests last month.

When a person is accused of selling a controlled substance in a Clay County Drug Case, the charge is a felony. The degree of felony and the maximum penalty are based primarily on two factors: the amount of the drug the defendant is arrested with and the type of drug he or she is accused of selling. For example, charges related to prescription drugs carry much more severe penalties than those involving marijuana. For example, drug trafficking charges involving prescription pills such as hydrocodone begin at 14 grams - just a handful of pills. Trafficking charges for marijuana do not begin until the person is accused of having 25 pounds of the drug. Drug trafficking charges are first-degree felonies, with varying minimum mandatory sentences that apply based on the amount of the drug included in the charge.

There are other factors that can determine the felony degree and potential punishment in a Clay County Drug Crimes Case. For example, there are enhanced penalties for selling or delivering drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, church or child care facility. Several of the cases in this Clay County Drug Crimes sweep have upgraded charges, and that increase is typically one felony degree. For example, sale or distribution of marijuana is normally a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. However, if the transaction is completed within 1,000 feet of a school or other area listed above, the charge becomes a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies have a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison - a significant difference for the defendant. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people on all types of drug charges - from possession to trafficking involving all types of controlled substances. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney knows what police must show to prove a sale and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

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.

Nassau County deputies conduct drug-related search, find stolen property

August 22, 2014

Police in Nassau County started an investigation after spotting marijuana plants in the yard, and then found several stolen vehicles behind the home. Three trailers, a truck, a boat, a jet ski and construction equipment were all found in the backyard of the Hilliard home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the items were reported stolen from Jacksonville over the past few months and the total value is about $77,000, the newspaper reported. Police removed all of the vehicles and also took drug paraphernalia from inside the home, the newspaper reported.

No charges have been filed, but police appear to have plenty of options in this Nassau County Felony Case. In terms of Nassau County Drug Crimes charges, cultivation of marijuana is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. The charge could be elevated to drug trafficking - a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. That would only apply if the defendant has more than 300 plants, which does not appear to be the case from this brief mention in the newspaper. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail. It could be possible to have marijuana growing in a rural area without knowledge of the property owner, but when it is found growing with paraphernalia and other growing materials present, that's a tougher sell.

As for the theft charges, the theme is similar to the Nassau County Drug Crimes charges with the marijuana plants. Instead of the physical amount that makes the difference in the drug cases, it's the dollar value that plays the biggest role in the type of charge and the potential punishment in Nassau County Theft Cases. There are other factors, including if the property was stolen from law enforcement, but the main factor is the amount. In this Nassau County Theft Case, it's unclear now if police have evidence that the person who owns the property is the person who stole the property. If not, there are still elements in the statutes that make a person liable if they knew or should have known the property was stolen when then buy or sell it. The threshold for a theft charge to be a felony is $300. If property is valued at more than $300, the defendant can be charged with a third-degree felony that has a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Because there are several stolen goods, all valued at more than $300, the state could charge several counts of grand theft, which could be stacked to expose the person to decades in state prison.

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 Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Nassau County police announce two dozen felony drug arrests in "Operation High on Summertime"

Two dozen people, most from Nassau County, are facing felony drug charges after a series of undercover operations over the past several months. Police dubbed the project Operation High on Summertime and said it was aimed at reducing illegal drug activity in the county, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. All of the charges are related to selling drugs, according to the newspaper report. Media reports do not specify how the operation was conducted, but in many cases undercover detectives secretly record interaction that leads to the sale. And, eventually, to criminal charges and Nassau County Drugs Crimes Cases.

In these Nassau County Drug Cases, most of the charges are for sale of marijuana, sale of cocaine and sale of a controlled substance. In most cases these days, sale of a controlled substance generally means prescription drugs, but it was not specified in this Nassau County Drug Crimes Case. Felony degree depends mostly on the type of drug in these Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases. The difference comes in if the person has enough of the drug to qualify for a trafficking charge, which leads to a host of more serious charges with longer maximum penalties and mandatory minimum sentences that apply. Sale of a controlled substance and sale of cocaine, two of the most common charges in this Nassau County drug bust, are both second-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Sale of marijuana is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. In all Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases, marijuana has less severe penalties than other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines and prescription drugs such as hydrocodone and OxyContin. Marijuana possession can be a misdemeanor charge, whereas with the other drugs mentioned, even a simple possession charge is a felony in Nassau County Drug Crimes cases.

Police did not specify how many of the people arrested were involved in the same illegal drug operation, though it would be highly unlikely everyone was working independently. There are likely a few different rings represented here. That will be more evident once people start working out plea agreements and being sentenced by the judge. In most of these Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases, police are after a few specific individuals and will look to the smaller players to provide information in exchange for a reduced sentence. Our Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people on a variety of drug charges, from possession to trafficking, and charges involving marijuana, cocaine and seemingly everything in between. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney knows what elements the state must have to prove a sale charge and will thoroughly investigate the charges against you or your loved one.

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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Jury convicts woman of reduced charges for firing shots at another vehicle

Police raid suspected Jacksonville meth lab, no one in the home at the time

Jacksonville police raided and broke up a methamphetamine lab last week, closing off a residential street for hours. When police arrived, no one was in the home, therefore no one was immediately arrested in the raid, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police collected evidence from the home and said they were looking for someone to speak with about the activity and contents inside the home. Detectives would likely start with the homeowner and whoever is listed in public utility records as the person responsible for water and electricity. Generally, if the home is a rental property, the tenant is the one who has the electric bill in his or her name.

Now that doesn't mean the owner or tenant is the one involved. Police and prosecutors could have a problem proving this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case without anyone in the home at the time of the raid. One strategy may be talking to the tenant or owner and, if they deny involvement, pressing them to tell what they know or face the charges themselves. The one thing police will definitely have on their side is the seriousness of the penalties in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case. It's a second-degree felony to possess chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines, and also a second-degree felony to manufacture meth. Both Jacksonville Drug Crimes have a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Penalties move up quickly in Jacksonville Drug Crimes cases, and one can be charged with trafficking in meth with just 14 grams in a person's possession. No proof of a sale is needed - the crime is simply based on the amount. Trafficking in methamphetamine is always a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, but also has a minimum mandatory sentence based on the amount. The lower levels of 14 to 28 grams, for example, have a mandatory minimum of three years in state prison. Compare these Jacksonville Drug Crime penalties with a drug like marijuana, when possession is still a misdemeanor until 20 grams, and trafficking charges do not apply until a person has 25 pounds in his or her possession.

Although police would have no doubt preferred to have someone inside the home at the time of the raid, they will likely say they could not wait because of a potential safety risk. The cooking of meth emits toxic fumes that can harm people in the immediate area. Many busts are in hotels or apartment complexes and police will decontaminate adjacent rooms and units once a lab is busted. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes lawyer represents people facing charges involving all types of drugs (from marijuana to meth) and all types of charges (from possession to trafficking).

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 Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Florida Supreme Court overturns drug crime convictions, rules the initial traffic stop was illegal

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this month that the mere fact that the color of a vehicle is different than the color specified on the registration with the state is not enough to pull a driver over. The ruling led to drug trafficking and other related convictions to be overturned for a Panhandle man whose case began in 2010, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Decisions like this set the law for the entire state of Florida and are applicable here in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases.

In this Florida Drug Crimes Case, a police officer saw a bright green car and ran the license plate number through the state database that shows whom vehicles are registered to and other facts about the car, according to the newspaper report. The registration showed the car was blue, not green, so the officer used that as the basis to initiate a traffic stop, the newspaper reported. Once the man was pulled over and the officer approached the car, the officer smelled marijuana, which led him to search the car and find marijuana, crack cocaine and cash, the newspaper reported. The man was convicted at trial, but appealed, arguing the traffic stop amounted to a search without a warrant. The Supreme Court ruled the change in color was not "inherently suspicious" enough to justify pulling the person over without further probable cause, the newspaper reported. Drivers are allowed to paint their vehicle and do not have to immediately report the color change to police, so it should not be a factor to base suspicious activity from, the court opined. Yes, the defendant did have drugs in his possession. However, everything begins with the initial encounter with police and, if that's not done correctly, it doesn't matter what police find. Whatever is discovered would then be inadmissible in court.

Police must have a specific reason to make a traffic stop. In many Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the reason listed in a police report will be along the lines of the driver swerving or speeding; driving with an expired tag; or maybe having a headlight burnt out. All of those are reasons the court deem acceptable to pull someone over. The issue of a valid traffic stop comes up frequently in Jacksonville DUI Cases, where the entire case is based on the traffic stop. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows the limits of what police can do without a search warrant, and knows the fine print on what constitutes a legal traffic stop. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to make sure everything was done by the book before you move forward with the case.

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 Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Operation Safe Summer leads to more than 50 drug crime arrests in Northeast Florida

A five-month, multi-county investigation designed to get drug dealers off the streets before students are released for summer break led to 57 arrests last month. More arrests are likely forthcoming, as police announced another 46 people had warrants issued for their arrest as part of the sting in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Detectives went uncover and bought drugs from street-level drug dealers - everything from prescription drugs and marijuana to cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, the newspaper reported.

Nearly all of the charges are for selling controlled substances, which are all felony charges in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. Other charges some of the defendants may have are from other drugs or paraphernalia they had on them at the time, or for an outstanding warrant. St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases have a variety of charges and penalties - all based on the type and amount of the drug in a person's possession. Once the charges involve a sale with actual money changing hands, everything is a felony. In these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, it appears the detectives just hit the streets to find out what they could come up with. In many of these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, police and prosecutors will use the charges against the street-level sellers to try to get the defendant to provide information on the mid- or high-level supplier they get their drugs from. Prosecutors might offer a reduced sentence in exchange for information that would lead to the arrest of someone on more serious St. Johns County Drug Crimes charges.

In St. Johns County Drug Crime Cases like this, detectives will typically record their encounter when purchasing drugs and use marked bills to show they indeed came from the police. Many defendants think that if they ask the person buying the drugs if they are a police officer and the officer says no, then they cannot be arrested. That is simply not true. The undercover officer does not have a legal obligation to disclose that information and the crime of selling narcotics trumps any misinformation from the police in these St. Johns County Drug Crimes cases. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people on all types of drug charges, including sales, and knows the details of what police can and cannot do when purchasing drugs undercover.

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.

Fewer cases being handled in Jacksonville Juvenile Drug Court program

Supporters of a drug court aimed at teens that focuses on rehabilitation more than criminal punishment say the program should be used more when juveniles are arrested on felony drug charges. Prosecutors say, however, this is just one tool that can be used and that the tough standards in the drug court program aren't for everyone - evidenced by the fact half of the people do not complete the program, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The merits of the program are now an issue because the federal grant that provides much of the support for the program may be lost if more teens aren't sent to the program, the newspaper reported. When the grant application was completed several years ago, court officials estimated a certain number of people would be sent to the program, the newspaper reported. Those numbers have not materialized and the grant could now be cancelled.

In Jacksonville Juvenile Cases when teens are caught with drugs, many first-time offenders can qualify for drug court. In the program, teens go through substance abuse counseling and are subject to regular drug screenings and other measurements. If they successfully complete the program, the charges are removed from their criminal record. The idea is to keep juveniles arrested on Jacksonville Drug Crimes Charges out of the state prison system, get teens the treatment they need, and let them move on to hopefully be productive members of society. Advocates for the program say the focus needs to be on rehabilitation rather that criminal punishment in Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Cases.

In Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Cases, there are several levels of punishment - ranging from house arrests on up to what amounts to a prison for teens. Part of the idea of treating Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes differently than adult crimes is that young people often made poor decisions and those singular poor decisions should not have a lifelong impact when there is not an incident where someone is killed or seriously injured. With the exception of some crimes related to marijuana, most all Jacksonville Drug Crimes are felonies - meaning the defendant could be facing time in state prison. Not to mention the fact that a felony conviction on a person's record often immediately eliminates them from many professions and essentially punishes the defendant for the rest of his or her life. Our Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of teens who've found their way into the court system. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney knows all of the possible options - from drug court to other rehabilitation programs - and will work for the best solution for your or your loved one to get past this incident and move on.

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 Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police arrest five on drug charges after St. Johns County meth lab raid

Five people arrested at a St. Johns County home are now facing serious felony charges after police raided the residence this month. Neighbors near the home had alerted police to suspicious activity, and police said they found a methamphetamine lab inside the home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. All three residents of the home were charged with various felonies and one, likely the homeowner or the main person on the lease of the property, was charged with the third-degree felony of maintaining a drug dwelling. That charge is punishable by up to five years in prison in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. Other charges for people inside the home included trafficking in methamphetamine - a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, depending upon the amount of methamphetamine that police can prove the person had in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Different drugs have vastly different penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases and methamphetamine has as serious of penalties as any other drug. Charges are based on the type of drug and how much of it the person is alleged to have in his or her possession. For example, in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes case, police seized 82 grams of methamphetamine oil along with drug paraphernalia, the newspaper reported. Is the meth oil part of the product used to cook the meth, or is it the actual drug itself? That's a significant question because the amount is the biggest factor in the charges. For example, if a person is charged with trafficking in meth and has between 14 and 28 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison. But if it is between 28 and 200 grams, that minimum mandatory sentence bumps up to seven years. Both amounts would carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Compare that to marijuana, where possession of the drug doesn't even become a felony until a person has more than 20 grams of the drug in his or her possession. Marijuana, though, is one of the few substances in St. Johns County Drug Cases where misdemeanor charges apply. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people accused of all types of drug crimes, involving various controlled substances. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney knows the ins and outs of possession and sale laws, as well as the penalties that apply based on the drug, to advise you on your options moving 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.

Ten arrested when Jacksonville police break up drug ring, seize 24 pounds of cocaine

Jacksonville police announced last month they have broken up two major drug dealing crews, arresting 10 people and seeking more following a yearlong investigation. Police confiscated about 24 pounds of cocaine, which has a street value of about $880,000, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The investigation also netted a pound of marijuana, nine cars and trucks, four guns and $386,000 in cash, the newspaper reported. Many of the arrests occurred in 2013, but police discussed the crimes last week and linked together all of the arrests, possibly for help in capturing the alleged kingpin of the operation, who has not yet been arrested.

Charges include trafficking in cocaine and conspiring to traffic in cocaine, both of which are first-degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison. Police said there are also two suspects who are cooperating with police and have yet to be charged. As is often the case in larger operations in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, police are looking to people on the inside for information on how the operation works. People aren't going to just give up that information, so what usually happens is police threaten serious charges and offer to help negotiate a lower sentence, depending on how much the person's cooperation helps seal the conviction. In other cases, prosecutors will file charges first, and then try to see who in the group is willing to make a deal and cooperate.

Oftentimes, someone will plead guilty, but not be sentenced until all of the defendants in a Jacksonville Drug Crimes case have had their cases resolved. That gives the suspect who is cooperating motivation to continue to cooperate. Penalties in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases can be severe - especially when the charges get to the level of trafficking. In these Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the charges are based on the type of drug and the amount the person has in his or her possession. But in conspiracy cases, as many of these are, police likely have recorded conversations or other evidence that will show or indicate the suspect setting up an actual sale or transaction. Drug trafficking charges can be filed simply based on the amount of a drug a person has, not necessarily based on proof of a sale. Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases are very serious, and penalties can ramp up quickly - especially if a person is caught with cocaine or prescription pain killers. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people on possession charges, on up to trafficking and will fully investigate your case to help you or your loved one make an informed decision on how to proceed with the case.

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 Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mobile meth lab bust in St. Johns County leads to three arrests, investigation in Jacksonville

March 20, 2014

Police are expanding an investigation that began when two people were arrested in St. Johns County, accused of making methamphetamine in a truck. The two people found in the vehicle were charged with felonies, as was the man who owned the property where the truck was parked, according to a report from News4Jax. The people in the truck were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, and well as possession of the drug. Manufacturing methamphetamine is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, while possession of meth carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison as a third-degree felony.

The owner of the property is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. The television station reported that one of the people in the truck also has ties to Jacksonville home that police raided and found chemicals used to make meth, though no further arrests were immediately reported. Methamphetamine is made by cooking a combination of chemicals, including some found in cough medicine and other household goods. The process emits a toxic and distinct odor, which causes problems for those making it in terms of keeping their activity hidden from the public. For example, many people have taken to renting hotel rooms to cook the meth, but the odor often tips off management or other guests, who in turn call police. As a result, mobile meth labs have sprung up as a means to try to conceal the activity.

Criminal penalties related to meth are very severe in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor methamphetamine charge. Even trace amounts result in a third-degree felony possession charge in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. In all St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, the amount of the drug a person is accused of having in their possession is directly tied to the severity of the charge. Similarly, the type of drug plays an enormous role, and St. Johns County Drug Crimes laws are extremely harsh when it comes to methamphetamine as it compares with many other drugs. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes attorney have represented people accused of having various amounts of a range of different drugs - from misdemeanor amounts of marijuana to larger amounts of methamphetamine or cocaine or other more serious drugs.

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.

Thirty-one people arrested on a range of charges in Clay County undercover drug sting

February 18, 2014

More than 30 people are now facing drug charges in Clay County, following an undercover investigation and a string of arrests. Clay County police said their six-month investigation yielded 31 arrests so far, with a few more likely on the way, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police used undercover narcotics detectives to buy drugs from suspected dealers in Green Cove Springs, Middleburg and Orange Park, the newspaper reported. Police reported to the media that 109 pounds of marijuana were taken off the streets, and a list of charges also shows that other drugs, including cocaine and prescription narcotics such as hydrocodone, were seized as well.

Clay County Drug Crimes charges always hinge on two important facts: the type of drug in question, and the amount that a person is accused of having in their possession. For example, a person can be charged with drug trafficking in a Clay County Drug Crimes Case even if there is no evidence of the person actually selling or trying to sell the narcotic. Trafficking is charged simply when the amount reaches a certain threshold - which varies dramatically based on the drug. For example, one of the men arrested in this Clay County Drug Case is charged with trafficking in hydrocodone - a first-degree felony that could land him in state prison for the rest of his life. Trafficking in hydrocodone starts at just four grams of pills, literally a handful of pills, and carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in state prison and a fine of $50,000.

Now compare that with marijuana, where a charge does not become trafficking until a person is alleged to have more than 25 pounds in his or her possession. That Clay County Drug Charge is also a first-degree felony with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison, but the fine is $25,000 - half of what it would be for a Clay County Drug Case involving prescription drugs. For marijuana, hydrocodone and all other illegal drugs in Clay County Drug Trafficking Cases, there are further weights and benchmarks that trigger various minimum mandatory sentences and fines - which take any discretion out of the hands of a judge and make the sentence required by law. Clearly, not all drugs are treated equally when it comes to Clay County Drug Cases. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney knows the ins and outs of how the law is applied based on each individual substance, and can help you or your loved one understand the possibilities 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 Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

State reexamining thousands of Florida drug cases after crime lab chemist accused of removing evidence

February 7, 2014

A drug scandal involving a Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist is not only a black eye for the state, it could be a major headache for prosecutors across Florida. The state is now examining all 2,600 cases since 2006 involving this chemist, accused of taking prescription pain pills and replacing them with over-the-counter medication, according to a report on News4Jax. The issue was first discovered when pills turned up missing in the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and investigators later determined that the cases were all handled by the same chemist, the television station reported. Now, all of the cases are under review and prosecutors are being notified of which cases to examine, the television station reported. All of the cases are west of Duval County, but the issue shows how fragile the cases can be in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, and how one bad apple can affect so many cases.

When drugs are found on a person in a Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, the substance is often sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine for sure whether what appears to be cocaine or hydrocodone, for example, is indeed cocaine or hydrocodone. This is done as part of proving the case, and also because there are cases where someone is selling counterfeit drugs and there's an entirely different charge for that sort of Jacksonville Drug Crime. However, if there is no longer evidence of the drug and no way to prove that it is actually a controlled substance, would the state need to drop the charges? It brings up an interesting legal argument and makes it difficult to proceed when there is no evidence. One comparison is in a Jacksonville DUI Case when the traffic stop is not admissible into evidence. There are specific rules and procedures police must follow in Jacksonville DUI Cases and if an officer isn't specifically trained in those procedures, mistakes can happen. And when the traffic stop is gone, there goes the state's evidence in the case.

The same could be true in these Florida Drug Crime cases. Police say this chemist worked about 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 Florida counties. If the evidence no longer exists, the state could have a difficult time proving these cases beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people facing all types of drugs charges, and will thoroughly investigate your case to ensure as procedures and policies were followed.

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 Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fifteen arrested in Nassau County undercover drug sweep

February 3, 2014

After months of undercover investigations, police announced they've arrested 15 people in a Nassau County drug sweep. All 15 are charged with felonies in these Nassau County Drug Crime Cases, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police made the arrests last month and said there are still four people wanted for Nassau County Drug Crimes connected with the investigations, the newspaper reported.

This roundup differs slightly than others in Northeast Florida, in that every one of the 15 is charged with selling drugs. In many cases, there are a few people included on possession charges, possibly people who were buying drugs at the wrong time, or had other drugs on them when police arrested them. In all, the group of 15 faces 30 felony counts, the newspaper reported. It's unclear whether the people involved in these Nassau County Drug Crimes cases are connected to one specific drug ring, or if they are a part of separate drug operations up and running throughout the county. Charges include sale or delivery of marijuana, sale or delivery of cocaine and sale or delivery of a controlled substance. Some of the drugs involved in these Nassau County Drug Crimes cases are Ecstasy and prescription pain pills, the newspaper reported.

The felony degree and maximum punishment in a Nassau County Drug Crimes case is partially determined by the drug in question. For example, sale or delivery of marijuana is a third-degree felony with a maximum punishment of five years in state prison. Sale or delivery of cocaine, on the other hand, is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison. There are other factors in Nassau County Drug Crimes cases that can enhance the penalties, and one major factor is included in a few of these recent charges. Similar to real estate, location matters when it comes to Nassau County Drug Crimes cases. If someone is charged with sale of marijuana and that sale is within 1,000 feet of a church or a school, that third-degree felony becomes a second degree felony. The same enhancement can be used in sale or delivery of cocaine, only the second-degree felony turns into a first-degree felony. First-degree felonies carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney has represented people on a variety of Nassau County Drug Crimes, from misdemeanor possession of marijuana, on up to sales similar to these cases in this recent sweep.

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 Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.