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.