Recently in Marijuana Crimes in Jacksonville Category

Man on way to Jacksonville stopped on Interstate 95, police find bricks of marijuana in dog food bag

October 18, 2013

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 arrested in alleged elaborate underground Clay County marijuana growing operation

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.

St. Johns County man arrested when police find 157 pot plants

February 8, 2013

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.

Jacksonville police bust marijuana grow house, arrest owner and take three dozen plants

August 27, 2012

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.

Officer arrested for moving marijuana in Jacksonville

August 16, 2012

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.

First large-scale synthetic marijuana raid in Northeast Florida, more expected in response to new ban

August 3, 2012

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 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.

Florida football player kicked out of diversion program for driving charge

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, 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

New York may stop some marijuana possession arrests

As a Jacksonville Marijuana Attorney, I have represented hundreds, if not thousands, of people charged with pot possession in Duval County. As views are changing about this minor drug, laws are still on the books outlawing possession of marijuana, cocaine, etc. The state of New York may soon join several other states in stopping police from arresting people for marijuana possession under a certain amount. According to an article in the NY Times, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is supporting a proposed law that will make possession of less than 25 grams of pot a civil violation, not a misdemeanor. Practically, this means that NY police will no longer arrest people for having less than this amount of marijuana. In addition to having the mayor's endorsement, the city's state attorneys also back the change to the law.

If you are caught possessing marijuana in Duval, Clay or Nassau Counties, you will be arrested in some form. If you have no prior arrest or criminal history and the amount you possess is less than 20 grams, the police can issue you a "Notice to Appear". This is a document that acts as an arrest without you physically being taken downtown to the police station. You or your Jacksonville drug attorney will have to make a court date and fight this drug arrest. The police also have the discretion to arrest you, even if you possess a very small amount of pot. Often times, Jacksonville possession of pot charges are accompanied by a possession of drug paraphernalia charge.

When you possess marijuana in Florida, the crimes you can be arrested for vary based on several factors. You can be charged with misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams of pot. This is a first degree misdemeanor and the maximum punishment is one year in jail. If you possess over 20 grams, the Jacksonville drug crime becomes a third degree felony. If you attempt or actually sell pot in Duval, Clay or Nassau Counties, this drug crime is also a third degree felony. Believe it or not, you can also possess a "trafficking" amount of pot in Florida. If you are caught with over 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 or more plants, the crime becomes a first degree felony in Florida. If the amount you possess is more than 25 pounds, but under 2,000 pounds, there is a three year minimum mandatory sentence, which means if convicted, a defendant will serve three years day for day. If the amount of pot possessed is between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, there is a seven year minimum prison term that has to be imposed. if the amount of marijuana exceeds 10,000 pounds, there is a fifteen year minimum sentence that must be imposed.

If you are arrested for drug charges in the Jacksonville, Clay County or Nassau County areas, you should contact a Jacksonville Drug Attorney immediately to discuss your case. Having a drug charge not only carries jail or prison time, but could scar your record for the rest of your life. Call Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, our Northeast Florida Criminal Attorney, at (904) 365-5200. The Mussallem Law Firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

7 From Jacksonville Indicted in Major Drug Case That Spans Two States

August 26, 2011

Twenty one people -- including seven from Jacksonville -- were recently indicted in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to distribute cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy throughout Jacksonville and into southeastern Georgia during the last four years, The Florida Times-Union reports.

Drug charges in Jacksonville, have become increasingly commonplace. Even a minor amount of marijuana can get a person charged with a misdemeanor and these are the types of cases that clog our criminal justice system.
But even a misdemeanor should be taken seriously and can result in jail time and problems on a person's criminal record. That's why hiring a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney to fight marijuana drug charges is important. Don't allow the state to unfairly punish you if they can't prove the charges. Fight for your rights.

In this case, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with local law enforcement agents investigated the case for more than two and a half years, the newspaper reports. One man recently pleaded guilty in a federal courthouse, bringing the total number of those who have entered into deals with the government to 10. Another 11 people face charges under the indictment.

According to the newspaper report, agents tapped three phones of one of the defendants and listened as he allegedly set up drug buys and told of his intention to sell drugs to distributors in Jacksonville. In exchange for the most recent defendant's guilty plea, drug and gun charges were dropped. As part of his agreement, he must cooperate with federal prosecutors.

The problem with plea agreements for state or federal prosecutors is that these witnesses are automatically less-than-credible witnesses. They were once considered the enemy to the prosecutor, but now, all of a sudden, they're on the side of the law. It doesn't really make sense.

These people were once considered criminals, who would lie their way out of a paper bag if they could. But, after signing their name to a few pieces of paper and agreeing to tell the truth and testify against their co-defendants, they are now star witnesses for the prosecution.

A diligent Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer will use years of experience to see through this trick and show a judge or jury the true score. A person can sign a piece of paper and tell someone they're going to tell the truth, but there are no guarantees here. A co-defendant who flips and turns state's evidence actually has more incentive to lie because they will say whatever it takes in order to get a reduced prison sentence. Whatever makes the deal stand up, they are willing to do.

A jury must see the truth and it is the job of a client's criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville and throughout northeast Florida to see to it that they do. Hard-line questioning, filing motions to reduce evidence and preparing witnesses for a defense plan are all part of the job.

Continue reading "7 From Jacksonville Indicted in Major Drug Case That Spans Two States" »

Gun and Marijuana Brought into Duval County Courthouse

A Jacksonville man was arrested for trying to bring a gun into the Duval County Courthouse. According to an article on, Timmy Hagans Jr. was caught with a gun and pot while trying to get through the metal detectors at the Jacksonville courthouse. Authorities say Hagans set off the metal detector and security found a Derringer .22-caliber pistol in Hagans' book bag. Hagans did not have a Florida Concealed Weapons Permit and was arrested for felony carrying a concealed firearm in Jacksonville. This Florida crime is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Once authorities found the gun, they searched the rest of Hagans' belongings and found three small baggies of marijuana. In addition to being arrested for the felony weapon charge in Jacksonville, Hagans was also arrested for the possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana charge in Jacksonville. The pot charge in Jacksonville is a misdemeanor in Florida punishable by up to one year in jail.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm is a felony in Florida and the law can be found at 790.01, Florida Statutes. To be convicted of this gun crime in Jacksonville and all of Florida, the gun has to be concealed. In order to be considered "concealed", the firearm must be carried on or near your body in such a was as to conceal it from the ordinary sight of others. A firearm is defined under Florida law as any weapon that can, is designed to, or can be quickly converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. In addition to concealing the firearm, the gun has to be "readily accessible for immediate use". This means that it is carried on your person or is so close to you that you can retrieve it and use it as easily as you could if it was actually on your person.

It is important to discuss your rights with an Experienced Northeast Florida Gun Crimes Attorney if you are facing a gun charge in Duval County, Clay County, or Nassau County. The state attorney's office, the office that is in charge of prosecuting crimes in Northeast Florida, takes all weapon charges very seriously. Many gun crimes in Florida carry minimum mandatory sentences and that is why it is so critical to get consider all of your options.