Atlantic Beach police chief won’t face prison time after pleading guilty to drug charges

The former police chief in Atlantic Beach, who was facing decades behind bars on serious drug charges, has reached a deal that will keep him out of prison. The deal includes pleading guilty to five charges, including tampering with evidence and possession of illegal steroids, the newspaper reported. He was originally charged last fall with 21 counts, including trafficking in codeine – a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years and a minimum mandatory sentence of at least three years in prison. The state dropped the minimum mandatory as part of the plea deal in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, the newspaper reported. Instead of prison time, the deal calls for five years of probation, forfeiting his law enforcement license and paying $11,300 in restitution, the newspaper reported. The deal will become official and the remaining 16 charges will be dropped when the man is sentenced next month.

Police intercepted a package sent to the man from overseas that contained anti-anxiety pills, the newspaper reported. The man was also having illegal steroids shipped from other countries. Police raided his home and found more of the same drugs, though the computer used to order the drugs had been destroyed, the newspaper reported. The evidence tampering charge is likely related to the computer. But, overall, police say the man was cooperative during the raid in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, took police to different parts of his home where more of the drugs were located, including a closet where he took pills out of a shirt pocket, and was forthcoming in the interviews. He did have a prescription for some of the medication, but was illegally buying it online, the newspaper reported.

Charges and penalties in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases are determined by the type of drug a person is accused of possessing, and how much of that drug is found. For example, the police chief in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case was charged with drug trafficking. That’s not because he was selling the pills, as the charge would imply. Trafficking charges are based on the weight of the drug found and, in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases involving pills, a bottle of hydrocodone is enough. It is rare for the state to agree to a deal that goes from drug trafficking charges and 21 charges down to a sentence that has probation and no prison time. Cooperating with police can be helpful in getting a better deal, but that should be done at the advice of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney. If you know or suspect you are the subject of a criminal investigation, a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can help with explaining your rights, can be with you during any interview and can help with surrendering a defendant to police without a scene if charges end up being filed.

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.

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