50 arrested as part of painkiller medication sting; Jacksonville man accused of being a “large-scale supplier”

A nearly yearlong investigation into painkillers being distributed among state prison employees has led to the arrest of 50 people on varying degrees of drug charges.  Nine of the people charged work for the Florida Department of Corrections and all nine have been fired, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The investigation found the ring centered around purchasing large amounts of Oxycodone, a popular pain medication that people also take recreationally, from people with legal prescriptions, the newspaper reported. The first arrests in the case came in June, when undercover officers bought 43 pills from a man who worked at Florida State Prison and is accused of being the main person distributing the pills to fellow corrections officers and other prison employees, the newspaper reported. As police continued to investigate, they found that the man was getting the pills from four large suppliers across the state, including one man in Jacksonville, the newspaper reported.

Several people, including the main distributor at the prison and the supplier in Jacksonville, are charged with trafficking in oxycodone. The charge is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the charge and potential punishment are primarily determined by two main factors: the type of drug the person is accused of having and the amount of said drug. For example, in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, even though the sale of drugs is the root of the investigation, the trafficking charge is based solely on the amount of the drug the defendants are accused of possessing. There are several other charges in this case, including conspiracy to purchase or distribute a controlled substance, but the trafficking charges are the most serious.

In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases involving Oxycodone, trafficking charges start at 7 grams – which can be just a couple dozen pills. As a comparison, possession of marijuana is still a misdemeanor until a person is accused of having more than 20 grams. But with Oxycodone, not only does trafficking begin at 7 grams, but minimum mandatory sentences kick in. If a person is charged with having between 7 and 14 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in state prison. For between 7 and 25 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years, and that bumps up to 15 years if the person is accused of having between 25 and 100 grams.  In far-reaching cases such as this with multiple defendants, prosecutors often make deals with some of the lower level defendants in exchange for more information about the people they are really targeting. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes and can help you or your loved one navigate the criminal justice system and make the best decision on how to proceed.

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.