Sixty people have been arrested in Duval County as a result of four month drug sting operation. According to an article in the Florida Times Union, there are eleven others that have pending arrest warrants in Jacksonville. Because of citizen complaints in the area, “Lockdown in O-Town” is a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office drug operation that started in October and ended in January of this year.
Most of the criminal charges stemming from this drug bust are sale of drug charges. The people arrested for selling drugs in this sting are accused of selling cocaine, heroin, controlled substance (commonly pills), marijuana and methamphetamine. In order to be convicted of sale of any illegal drug in Florida, the state of Florida must prove that the substance is a controlled substance and that the suspect either sold, bought or delivered the drug. Selling a drug is defined as transferring or delivering something to another person in exchange for money or something of value. Delivery of a drug is defined as transferring of a controlled substance from one person to another. Under the “delivery” part of the statute, you can be prosecuted even if you are just the middle man. Sale of drugs in Florida is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
The second most common crime people were arrested for is possession of the drugs mentioned above and possession of paraphernalia. You can possess anything under Florida law in two ways. Possession of drugs in Jacksonville means you have personal charge of a thing. Actual possession is when you have the drug in your hand, on your person, in a container in your hand or so close it is in your ready reach and control. Constructive possession of drugs is a bit more obscure. Constructive possession means the drug is in a place over which the suspect has control. When police search a car and find drugs with multiple people in the car, they will often arrest everyone for possessing the drug, even though under our law, they all cannot possess it. Police threaten to arrest everyone or in fact arrest everyone to get someone to either take responsibility for the drug or point fingers. If everyone in the car says nothing, it is very difficult to prove who had sole possession.