Twenty-five kilograms of cocaine police say came from South America washed up on shore in St. Johns County this month. The individually wrapped kilograms were likely headed for a destination along the East Coast, where buyers would have processed it, broken it up into smaller amounts and sold it, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. State and federal authorities are still investigating whether the cocaine fell off of a wrecked boat or airplane, or whether it was dumped by people who thought they would get caught with the massive amount of drugs, the newspaper reported. Police did not release all of the information on how the drugs were wrapped, saying it was still part of their investigation into what they estimated as $7.5 million worth of cocaine, the newspaper reported. That's likely all they have to go on. Fingerprints would not be available on items that have been in the water for that period of time. Needless to say, that amount of cocaine is more than enough to send someone to prison for a long, long time.
In Florida, someone can be charged with trafficking in cocaine with as little as 28 grams of the drug. For some perspective, that is less than one-tenth of one percent of the amount of cocaine police just found ashore in St. Johns County. Trafficking charges apply for anyone who possesses, sells, manufactures or brings into the state more than 28 grams of cocaine, so the charges could certainly apply if they were able to tie them to anyone in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes case. Any St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case that involves trafficking in cocaine is a first-degree felony and most are punishable by up to 30 years in prison. But, different amounts of cocaine trigger different minimum mandatory sentences that apply. If the charge is for between 28 and 200 grams, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison and a $50,000 fine. For between 200 and 400 grams, there is a minimum sentence of seven years and a fine of $100,000. The next level, between 400 grams and 150 kilograms, would apply in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. The minimum prison sentence in 15 years and the fine is $250,000. Minimum mandatory sentences carry more time than traditional sentences because defendants must serve every single day of the sentence. In most cases, people only serve about 85 percent of the time they are given. Penalties escalate quickly in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, and you certainly don't need to be caught with 25 kilograms of cocaine to be looking at some serious prison time.
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.