Recently in Drug Crimes in Jacksonville Category

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.

Clay County mom arrested after drugs found in her son's system

January 31, 2014

Police arrested a Clay County mother, alleging her young son who died in December had drugs in his system that caused his death. Kathern Powell was arrested more than a month after the medical examiner ruled the boy's cause of death was a homicide caused by acute bronchopneumonia following drug toxicity, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. She was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and culpable negligence. In most cases, aggravated manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. But the degree changes when a child, elderly person or a law enforcement officer is involved. Because this Clay County Manslaughter Case involves child, Powell's charge is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

Powell allegedly found the boy face down in his crib and tried to wake him up in the shower before the child's father and grandfather both attempted CPR, the newspaper reported. The boy was taken to the hospital and died a week later, the newspaper reported. Subsequent tests found opiates in his blood and urine, the newspaper reported. Police have not released Powell's role in the case, nor have they discussed what drugs were involved or how the child ingested them, the newspaper reported. Those details will obviously be the key to this Clay County Manslaughter Case.

In a recent, Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, a mother pleaded guilty to the same charge after policed alleged she had drugged her child before to get him to fall asleep. That mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison, likely because the court found she had done it before. Past activity such as this when it involves a child can drastically affect a sentence in a Clay County Manslaughter Case. It is one thing for a child to get into drugs or any other substance if it's in a drawer or in the reach of a child, but it's quite another to intentionally give a child illegal drugs to try to get he or she to stay or fall asleep. The details will be important in this Clay County Drug Crimes case. If there is not a trial in this Clay County Manslaughter Case, it may not be until the sentencing hearing until those details emerge. At that point, or at trial, the defense will have its chance to explain the events, and provide information or mitigation to the judge in asking for a favorable sentence.

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

Two arrested on methamphetamine charges in upscale St. Johns County neighborhood

January 29, 2014

Police arrested two people on several felony drug charges after St. Johns County police raided a suspected meth lab in an upscale neighborhood. Neighbors had notified police about suspicious activity and detectives converged about 9 a.m. on a Friday morning last month and arrested two of the occupants, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the occupants were not making the drug at the time, but there was evidence that methamphetamine had been cooked and produced there in the past, the newspaper reported. David Austin and Kayleigh Wyman were both arrested and charged with possession and production of methamphetamine, maintaining a drug dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, the newspaper reported.

Possession and production of methamphetamine is a second-degree felony in Florida with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison and is the most serious of the charges the two are facing. Maintaining a drug dwelling is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that only qualifies for time in the county jail. Police were at the house with a tent and the hazardous materials unit, cleaning near the townhouse to get rid of the poisonous chemicals used to manufacture the drug, the newspaper reported. Methamphetamine labs have been prevalent recently in some of the counties right outside Jacksonville. And while they are more common in hotels and apartment complexes, this isn't the first time a meth lab has been uncovered in a more residential area. The fumes that are emitted from the production of the drug can be lethal, and also carry a distinct odor than can make it difficult to hide from neighbors and from law enforcement.

Methamphetamines crimes are becoming more and more common in St. Johns County, where authorities have taken an aggressive approach to investigating the crimes and targeting the manufacturing of the dangerous drug. All penalties and charges in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases hinge on two key factors: the type of drug and the amount. Methamphetamine carries among the most severe penalties of any drug, as there is no such thing as a misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine. Any amount is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, as opposed to a drug such as marijuana, where anything up to 28 grams is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to a year in the county jail. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents defendants facing any and all drug charges from possession of marijuana on up to producing or trafficking in methamphetamine and 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 St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Demolition latest step after increase in meth crimes in St. Johns County

December 26, 2013

St. Johns County demolished an abandoned home this month that had been used as several times as a lab to cook methamphetamine. Contamination levels were more than 1,800 times higher than levels deemed to be dangerous and this is the second contaminated home St. Johns County has demolished this year, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. In the last three years, more than 40 meth labs have been found in the county, leading to dozens of St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, the newspaper reported. St. Johns County police have been particularly aggressive in trying to eliminate the profliferation of methamphetamine in the county, including a massive bust last summer where dozens of people were arrested across the county. The makeshift labs are used to cook toxic chemicals into methamphetamine and the odor makes them difficult to hide, though people often used hotels and apartments to manufacture the drug.

The consequences for running a meth lab in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases are severe. Not all drugs are created equal in terms of the law and methamphetamine is one that carries major penalties. For example, there is no such thing as a misdemeanor meth charge in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. If a person is busted with any amount of meth, it's a felony. Possession of methamphetamine is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. Compare that to possession of marijuana in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, where it is a misdemeanor until a person has more than 28 grams. Only people convicted of felonies can be sentenced to state prison. Those convicted of misdemeanors, if sentenced to any time, serve it in the county jail. A charge of manufacturing methamphetamine ups the ante even more in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. Manufacturing methamphetamine is a second-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The fumes that are emitted during the cooking of the drug are toxic and can be dangerous to ingest, especially for children. Because of that element, the state allows for increased charges in cases where methamphetamine is being cooked when children are present.

Even small amounts of a drug can have major consequences in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases - it just depends on the drug. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney can advise you of the consequences and thoroughly investigate for case to determine the best option 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.

Congressman's cocaine arrest in D.C. helps illustrate Florida's punitive drug laws

November 29, 2013

The Florida Congressman who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in Washington, D.C., this month for possession of cocaine would have faced much more severe penalties had he been busted in his home state. Congressman Trey Radel, who represents the Fort Meyers area, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession and faces a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to a report in the Miami Herald. Radel bought cocaine from an undercover agent after the person Radel had been buying from was arrested and gave authorities Radel's name, the newspaper reported. Radel is now on a leave of absence from his Congressional role, but compared to how his case would have been handled in Florida, Radel is fortunate he was not busted in the Sunshine State.

In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, and all Florida Drug Crimes cases, possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony. Any amount whatsoever. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge, as there is in Washington. In Jacksonville drug crimes cases, possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Outside of marijuana, nearly all Jacksonville Drug Crimes and Florida Drug Crimes are felonies and not misdemeanors. When it comes to prescription narcotics, it's the same thing. All charges are felonies. And, what can be even more devastating in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, are the minimum mandatory sentences that kick in - even on amounts as small as a few pills.
While there are some instances with first-time offenders that people can enter drug treatment and have the adjudication withheld if the defendant meets certain criteria in probation, those are details that would have to be negotiated and could drag the case out.

If Radel was to just immediately plead guilty, as he did in Washington, he would have lost his voting rights and right to carry a gun - both rights that can eventually be restored but are automatic when someone pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony in the state of Florida. Another penalty, which is not as well known, that any plea or conviction to any Jacksonville Drug Crime results in an automatic two-year suspension of a person's driver's license. Professionally, there's no doubt this may be difficult for Radel to overcome. But from a legal perspective, he's fortunate he was busted in Washington and not charged with a Florida Drug Crime. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of people on drug crimes charges in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows all of the ancillary consequences of pleading guilty to a crime and can advise you of the ramifications, and 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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Florida Supreme Court tosses out drug trafficking charge for Jacksonville man and orders him resentenced

October 25, 2013

The Florida Supreme Court has thrown out a drug trafficking charge against a Jacksonville man, saying the way the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tested the drugs was insufficient to prove he had as much cocaine as the state alleged. Instead of the 15-year sentence that was imposed after trial, Baron Greenwade is now looking at a maximum of five years in prison on a cocaine possession charge, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When Greenwade was arrested in 2009, police found a bag inside his garage with nine individual plastic bags inside, the newspaper reported. Police then dumped all nine into one bag before sending the drugs off to be tested by a forensic chemist, the newspaper reported. Because the combined amount was more than 200 grams, Greenwade could then be charged with trafficking in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, which opened him up to a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years in prison.

Greenwade's Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys argued that the state should have sent each individual bag of cocaine to the chemist to be tested - a practice that is followed in other major Florida cities, including Miami and Tampa, the newspaper reported. The Supreme Court agreed. One main reason is that drug dealers sometimes put fake cocaine in a baggie, if they think they can get away with it, so it is possible there was less than 200 grams or actual cocaine in the larger bag police found. This Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case decision by the Supreme Court will now force Jacksonville police to individually test each baggie or container they find.

Drug charges and sentences are based on the type of drug and the amount the person is accused of having. As was proven in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, a few grams either way can make an enormous difference in the amount of time a person receives. Greenwade was initially charged with a first-degree felony and is now guilty of just a third-degree felony, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison. His maximum sentence is more than the minimum seven years he was required to serve on the trafficking charge. While Jacksonville Drug Crimes laws seem like they'd be pretty straightforward, cases like this are always changing the landscape of Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney stays on top of all of the latest rulings and has the latest information at her fingertips to advise 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.

Bricks of cocaine wash ashore in St. Johns County

September 27, 2013

Heavy rains not only flooded local streets, but they also washed more than a dozen bricks of cocaine from the Atlantic Ocean onto beaches in St. Johns County. A man found two individually wrapped packages about 30 feet from one another near a St. Augustine boat ramp and called police, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police fanned out and conducted their own search, finding a total of 16 packages between St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach - each weighing about two pounds, the newspaper reported. The drugs have a street value of about $500,000, the newspaper reported.

Similar bricks of cocaine washed to shore in St. Johns County earlier this year and police haven't said if they are related, the newspaper reported. In that St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, $7.5 million in cocaine was found. Proving the source of the drugs in this case to the point of actually being able to make arrests and bring St. Johns County Drug Crimes charges could be difficult, but it's the next step in the case. St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case can be very serious and, as in all drug cases, the charges and penalties are based on two main factors: the type of drug and how much of it the suspect is accused of having. A person can be charged with drug trafficking even if there is no evidence of the suspect selling the drug or arranging to have it sold. In this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, even one of the bricks would be enough to face a trafficking charge, which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Because the amount falls between 400 grams and 150 kilograms (about 330 pounds), there is a 15-year minimum mandatory prison sentence that would apply. Again, that penalty is for just one of the bricks in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, not all 16 of them.

Trafficking amounts vary based on the type of drug and, with cocaine, start at 28 grams. Compare that with marijuana, which is a misdemeanor possession up until 28 grams, when possession becomes a felony. Trafficking penalties start at 25 pounds - more than 400 times the amount where trafficking begins in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases involving cocaine. Cocaine charges are very serious and often trigger minimum mandatory sentences - even with what may seem to be a minimal amount of the drug.

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.


Stolen prescription pad has police on the lookout for people trying to get narcotics with fake orders

September 20, 2013

Clay County police are investigating to determine if more people have been using a stolen prescription pad to try to receive narcotic pain medication. Kristina Mosley was arrested last week and police say more charges could be on the way soon, according to a report from Action News Jacksonville. Mosley was charged with making an altered or forged prescription, which is charged in this Clay County Drug Crimes case as a misdemeanor. There's also a felony charge of obtaining a prescription by fraud that, as a third-degree felony, is punishable by up to five years in prison. In this Clay County Drug Crimes case, it appears that the fraudulent prescription was caught before Mosley allegedly received the narcotic, or she would have likely been charged with the felony. Mosley has other serious criminal problems as well, namely, a charged of trafficking in prescriptions drugs. The crime is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

This Clay County Drug Crimes Case could be seen as the latest step in the county's continued push to fight the sale and abuse of prescription pain medication, the television station reported. But from the perspective of a Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, it is also based on a significant opportunity for police to implicate more people in the crime. The pad was stolen from a hospital and if the police now have access to the person who would know how the pad was obtained and who had control of its distribution. Mosley. And now she is looking at up to 30 years in state prison - and a potential minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years. Police are likely banking on her opening up to try to reduce her own sentence and it may work in the state's favor. The news of the stolen prescription pad has pharmacists - at the urging of police - calling doctors to verify prescriptions, just to be sure they are authorized, the television station reported. It would not be surprising if police were working with some of the local pharmacies to allow the customer to purchase the narcotics and then have police waiting outside the door to make the arrest. That way, the felony charge would apply and the person would be facing five years in state prison. As with negotiations of any kind, negotiations in Clay County Drug Crimes Cases are all about leverage. A person looking at prison time is often more likely to work with police than someone facing a misdemeanor and a little time in the county jail. That's magnified when it comes to someone like Mosley looking at 30 years in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case.

Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented clients charged in all facets of drug cases. From possession, to those accused of selling small amounts, to those alleged to be the mastermind of the enterprise. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney understands how prosecutors work to secure evidence and testimony in these Clay County Drug Crimes cases, and can advise you on your options and how the case could play 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 Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Two arrested, accused of running St. Johns County meth lab

September 9, 2013

Two St. Johns County residents were arrested last week after police raided a home thought be a methamphetamine lab. Both were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a drug dwelling, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police had been tipped that there was a meth lab inside, and had been called to the same house before, the newspaper reported.

Manufacturing methamphetamine is a second-degree felony in Florida with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison, and is by far the most serious of the three charges. Possession of methamphetamine is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and maintaining a drug dwelling is a misdemeanor. Because judges can chose to sentence people separately on each crime, both Alison Walsh and Robert Horsley Sr. are facing up to 20 years in prison on the two felonies and one year in county jail on the misdemeanor. Not all drugs are equal when it comes to St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, and methamphetamine crimes carry more severe penalties than other drugs. For example, possession of ANY amount of methamphetamine is an automatic felony. If someone is accused of possession of marijuana in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, the charge is still a misdemeanor until the suspect has more than 28 grams. There is a huge difference between misdemeanors and felonies. For starters, misdemeanors are punishable only by time in the county jail - not in state prison. And it plays a huge difference for the person when he or she is trying to find a job as many companies and professions prohibit the hiring of convicted felons.

Arrests for manufacturing methamphetamines have been on the rise, and many of those arrests have come in St. John's County. The production of methamphetamine releases toxic chemicals into the air, and many St. Johns County Drug Crimes cases with meth have come from hotels and apartment complexes. Because the fumes are toxic, the penalties increase when meth is being produced in the presence of children. What may seem like a minor amount of a drug can lead to serious consequences - depending on the drug. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people accused of possessing all different types of drugs and knows the various penalties that you or your loved one could be facing.

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.

Jacksonville woman sentenced to 15 years for methadone death of infant daughter

September 7, 2013

A Jacksonville woman whose infant daughter died of a methadone overdose was sentenced last week to the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Jennifer Frazier pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter by culpable negligence, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Frazier told police she used a container that had been used to mix methadone when she was giving ibuprofen and an antibiotic to her daughter, the newspaper reported. But prosecutors painted a much more sinister picture during the sentencing in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, which the judge obviously sided with. Manslaughter by culpable negligence is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and the judge gave her the longest sentence allowable under the law.

In this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, Frazier chose not to go to trial and pleaded guilty to the judge. In many plea agreements, the prosecution and the defense have agreed on a sentence that is presented to the judge for final approval. That was not done in the Jacksonville Manslaughter Case as prosecutors asked for 15 years and the defense was requesting Frazier be sentenced to the time she has already served and probation. In many Jacksonville Manslaughter Cases where a person pleads guilty, the details that would have been used in a trial do not come out until the sentencing. Then, the sentencing phase essentially becomes a trial where the state and defense both lay out their cases for what they feel is an appropriate sentence. Both sides call witnesses, with the state usually bringing law enforcement officers to the stand and the defense calling family members and others who can speak to the defendant's character.

In the sentencing for this Jacksonville Manslaughter case, a set of facts that had not previously been reported was brought out by the state. Prosecutors alleged Frazier intentionally drugged the baby to get the child to sleep and had done it before, the newspaper reported. Though Frazier denied that claim, the child's father told Frazier in a police interview room that he told her not to use methadone with the child, but he wasn't going to "rat her out." The father later denied saying that, but the judge concluded there was no other way the baby would have had eight times the lethal dose of methadone in her system in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, the newspaper reported. Excluding the rare event that prosecutors drop a Jacksonville Manslaughter Case or any other case, the cases will resolve in one of three ways: a trial, a plea directly to a judge or a negotiated plea agreement between the state and the defense. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has defended thousands of clients over the years and can lay out all of you options to 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 Jacksonville Manslaughter Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville mother pleads guilty after methadone killed her infant child

A Jacksonville mother pleaded guilty this month in connection with the death of her 6-month-old daughter, whom police say died of a lethal dose of methadone. Jennifer Frazier pleaded guilty to Duval County aggravated manslaughter of a child by way of culpable negligence, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The charge is a first-degree felony in Jacksonville punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Frazier is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Frazier was taking methadone, a drug commonly given to help someone who is recovering from addiction from narcotics - in some cases streets drugs like cocaine or heroin, in other cases prescription painkillers. Somehow, Frazier said she was giving the child ibuprofen and antibiotics, but her daughter ended up with a lethal dose of methadone in her system, the newspaper reported. Frazier told police she gave the child ibuprofen and an antibiotic from a container she had previously mixed methadone in, the newspaper reported. But police said there was no ibuprofen in the child's system and the bottles of methadone were found in a box used for the antibiotic, the newspaper reported. The facts of this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case could lead anywhere from Frazier mistakenly giving her daughter methadone instead of the antibiotic, to her intentionally giving the child methadone. Those facts would have obviously come out on a trial, but will now be coming out in the crucial sentencing next month. In some cases where there is not a trial, the sentencing phase ends up being a de facto trial. In this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case, Frazier's Duval County criminal defense attorneys will need to lay out the circumstances of how this happened in an effort to push for a sentence for their client that they believe is fair.

Clearly, Frazier was negligent in some regard because the baby has a lethal dose of methadone in her system. There was very little argument in terms of a defense at trial. Any argument is more an explanation of why it happened, which is more suited for sentencing anyway. In many Duval County Drug Crimes cases, the state and the Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney have agreed upon a sentence or even a range to submit to the judge. It's unclear whether that has been done in this case. There are two common types of guilty pleas in Jacksonville Drug Crimes cases. One is a negotiated plea, where the prosecutors and the defendant have agreed to a sentence. The second is referred to as a "straight up" plea, where the defendant simply pleads guilty to the judge without any indication of the length and severity of a possible sentence. Both types of pleas have their strategic benefit, depending on the facts and circumstances in the case. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has helped thousands of clients resolve their cases over the years and is experienced in working to get clients the best deal possible, if taking the case to trial is not the best option.

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.