Articles Posted in Drug Crimes in Jacksonville

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.

A driver running through a red light triggered a traffic stop that now has him facing several decades behind bars on felony drug charges.  Once police stopped the car, the officer said the driver struggled to get his license and the driver was sweating profusely, according to a report on First Coast News. Police ended up finding large quantities of a variety of drugs in the car, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD and illegal mushrooms, the television station reported.

The man is now charged with trafficking in LSD, possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet or a school or church, possession of a hallucinogen within 1,000 feet of a school or church, possession of marijuana with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school or church, possession of marijuana for the manufacture or delivery of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jacksonville Drug Crimes Charges are based on two main factors: the type of drug the person is accused of having in his or her possession and the quantity of the drug.  The LSD and the cocaine charges are both first-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. The marijuana and the hallucinogen charge, for the illegal mushrooms, are both second-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. The possession charge involving the manufacturing or delivering drugs is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison, while the other paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor. If he was to be convicted of all of the charges and sentenced to the maximum on each charge, he could be looking at 95 years in state prison. That’s unlikely, but it speaks to the seriousness of the charges and how quickly the charges and prison time can add up in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases.

Initially, the driver denied police permission to search the vehicle, but the officer called in a drug-sniffing dog, which detected drugs in the car. If a drug dog hits on the vehicle, the police then legally have the reasonable suspicion required to search the car in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases and the driver does not need to provide specific permission to conduct the search. However, the search must be done as part of traffic stop, meaning the police cannot hold the driver for a long time waiting on the dog.  There are specific policies and procedures police must follow in traffic stops and to define the actual possession of drugs. In this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, the drugs were found in a backpack, which the driver said was given to him by a stripper, the television station reported. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one to determine if all of those rules were followed to the letter of the law.

A woman who worked for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was arrested last week after police set up an undercover drug sting to allegedly catch her buying narcotics.  Through text messages with a confidential informant, the woman agreed to buy two OxyContin pills, but only ended up buying one $35 pill, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police were waiting nearby and pulled the driver over before she could make it to the end of the block, the newspaper reported. The woman told police she dropped the pill as she was being pulled over and police did not find it in her vehicle, the newspaper reported. The woman was arrested as a result of the traffic stop and resigned from her position with the sheriff’s office, the newspaper reported.

She was charged with purchase of a controlled substance. Because the pill was OxyContin, a variety of the prescription pain killer Oxycodone, the charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Yes, in some Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, one simple pill is a second-degree felony. There are two major factors that determine the charge and potential punishment in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases: the type of drug the defendant is accused of having and the amount that is allegedly in his or her possession. Penalties vary based on the type of drug and some prescription pain pills, such as OxyContin in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, carry serious potential penalties for just one pill. Methamphetamines, cocaine and other prescription drugs have charges that are automatic felonies – but in many cases they are third-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of five years in state prison. Marijuana, however, is a completely different story. Possession of marijuana up to 20 grams is still considered a misdemeanor, meaning the only time behind bars that would be on the table would be up to one year in the county jail.

Actual possession could be an issue in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case involving OxyContin because police did not find a pill in her possession. Her statement that she did have the pill but dropped it, along with the series of text messages that set up the transaction may be enough to prove the intent and the possession, but there can also be issues with text messages and other communications during these types of undercover operations.  Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people on a variety of drug charges – people accused of possessing, buying or selling all types of drugs. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one and provide you with information to make the best decision going forward.

A veteran Jacksonville police officer was arrested and charged this month, accused of giving her son inside information in a potential felony drug case against him.  The charge stems from an ongoing investigation into what police say is a massive Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case that involves large quantities of cocaine being brought to Jacksonville from Texas, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police arrested an officer and charged her with attempting to help her son elude police, the newspaper reported. Her son is accused of being in the drug operation at the direction of his father and the officer’s ex-husband, the newspaper reported. Police said the defendant is accused of alerting her son that police were onto him, telling him not to drive one of his cars that police knew about and talking with his girlfriend about helping him escape, the newspaper reported. She was placed on administrative leave from her position in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and charged with aiding escape. The charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison.

By all indications, the father is who police believe is the one leading the organization. In many Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, police go after some of the more minor players and attempt to squeeze information out of them that leads to prosecutors being able to prove the case against the biggest fish beyond a reasonable doubt. In most cases, that information comes with an offer for a lighter sentence or a reduction in charges. There’s an interesting dynamic in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, and it might be difficult for a person to give police information about his father. But, for an ex-wife to talk to police to potentially save her son – that scenario seems a little more likely.  As for the officer who was arrested, employers operate under different rules than the criminal justice system. That is especially true in law enforcement. Internal policies usually dictate that persons who are convicted of or plead guilty to a felony cannot serve in law enforcement. But even if this case doesn’t go that far, it’s possible her days of a police officer are over. While police are held to different standards, it’s one thing if an officer gets in trouble away from the job – such as a DUI in a personal car. This however, involved the use of police information to assist someone who was under investigation, which is a serious no-no in law enforcement circles.

Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people charged with all levels of drug crimes – from misdemeanor marijuana possession charges on up to felony charges of trafficking in cocaine.

One man has been arrested, but there could be more on the way as Jacksonville police investigate what could be a massive cocaine ring.  Police arrested a 20-year-old Jacksonville man on a charge of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Records indicate that his father, uncle and another man are listed as co-conspirators in the case, meaning they are at least three of the other people involved in the alleged conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, the newspaper reported. No other arrests have been made in the case, but records indicate police suspect the men are involved in bringing large quantities of cocaine from Texas to Jacksonville, and then distributing it here, the newspaper reported. When police arrested the son, he had a small amount of marijuana on him and two bags of oxycodone pills, the newspaper reported. For that, he was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and trafficking of opium or a derivative. The marijuana charge is a misdemeanor, while the trafficking charge is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

Although this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case does appear to involve the sale of drugs, trafficking charges in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases are based solely on the amount of the drug the person is accused of having. And how much of the drug makes it a trafficking charge varies dramatically by the type of drug. For example, the marijuana charge is a misdemeanor because the man is accused of having less than 20 grams of the drug. But for oxycodone, trafficking charges can begin at just four grams of the drug – just a handful of pills. If the person has between four and 14 grams, there is a minimum mandatory prison sentence of three years. If the amount is between 14 and 28 grams, there is a 15-year minimum mandatory sentence. More than 28 grams and it is 25 years. To compare, possession of marijuana does not become a trafficking charge until the person is caught with 25 POUNDS of the drug – or 300 plants. And in terms of the Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case police are now investigating, cocaine is treated much closer to opium than it is marijuana, so the man and the others suspected in the ring are likely looking at the possibility of decades behind bars if arrests are eventually made and charges are ultimately filed.  Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people on all types of drug crimes – from misdemeanor marijuana possession on up to felony trafficking cases.

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.

Police in St. Johns County were called in this month to seize and break down a methamphetamines lab in a St. Johns County hotel.  There was no information published in local media reports on any arrests involving the bust, according to the report on News4Jax. St. Johns County Drug Crimes involving methamphetamines can have serious ramifications, and will almost certainly be felony charges. The severity of charges, which dictates the likely punishment in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, is based primarily on two things: the type of drugs the person is accused of having and the amount of the drug police can prove the person had in his or her possession.

St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases involving meth are typically felonies. The charges for manufacturing methamphetamines are typically second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Those charges are upgraded to a first-degree felony with a 30-year maximum penalty if the drugs are produced in the presence of minors. The charged are enhanced because the fumes emitted during the process of cooking the meth are toxic and can be extremely dangerous, especially to children. Typically when meth labs are discovered in hotels or apartment complexes, immediate neighbors are evacuated so the rooms can be decontaminated. Even possessing the chemicals used to make meth can be charged as a second-degree felony, though it certainly improves the state’s case if the drugs are found in the vicinity of where the chemicals are found.

When it comes to the amount in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, a person can be charged with trafficking in meth if he or she has just 14 grams of the drug. For comparison, possession of marijuana is not even a felony until the person is accused of having more than 20 grams. Trafficking in meth is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, and minimum mandatory sentences also apply. Many people think that someone can only be charged with drug trafficking if the person is caught selling drugs. That is not the case. In St. Johns County Drug Cases, the amount of the drug is the only thing that can constitute a trafficking charge – even if the drugs are only for personal use.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes. From misdemeanor marijuana possession on up to trafficking in cocaine, our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges and lay out the options for you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Police dismantled a mobile methamphetamines lab that officers discovered during a traffic stop in St. Johns County.  Officers pulled the car over and found several people inside – along with the materials used to make methamphetamines, according to a report on Action News Jax. Police closed the gas station while they could dismantle the lab, the television station reported. Police did not announce any arrests in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, but if the state can prove the case against any of the occupants, there will likely be serious felony charges filed.

In St. Johns County Drug Crimes cases, the severity of the charges – and thus the potential sentence in state prison or county jail – can vary dramatically based on the drug in question. With methamphetamines, for example, nearly any charge is going to be a felony. Methamphetamines can be manufactured with a mixture of various dangerous chemicals that are cooked to produce the drug, but emit toxic fumes in the process. Even possessing the chemicals used to make the drug can be a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison. There could be difficulty in this St. Johns County Drug Case as to who was in actual possession of the chemicals because there were multiple people in the vehicle. In many cases, police may end up arresting and charging everyone in the car, then waiting for people to get nervous and start pointing fingers at one another.

Because of the distinct odor produced from making methamphetamines, it can be difficult to hide from passerby and from police. In many St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, meth labs are discovered in hotel rooms and apartment complexes, though it is now becoming more common for people to use cars. The fumes are viewed as being toxic to the point that penalties are increased if there are children around when the drug is being produced. The charge moves to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Just as important in St. Johns County Drug Crimes is that the charge for having children present includes a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison. Minimum mandatory sentences can be critical because they tie the judge’s hands if a person is convicted of the crime, meaning the judge could not give a lesser sentence. Also, every day of a minimum mandatory sentence must be served, unlike traditional sentences where people serves about 85 percent, provided they stay out of trouble behind bars.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes and will fully investigate the case against you or your loved one.

One person was arrested after police found a methamphetamines lab in a Clay County hotel this month.  Police were called after someone reported a suspicious smell and detectives then found the materials used to make meth inside a hotel room, according to a report on News4Jax. One person was arrested, though the exact charges were not reported in the media.  In any Clay County Drug Case involving meth, the charges are undoubtedly felonies. The type of charge – felony or misdemeanor – and the degree of the charge in Clay County Drug Cases is primarily based on two main factors: the type of drug the person is accused of having and the amount of the drug in question. When it comes to methamphetamines, there are rarely any misdemeanor charges. They are other circumstances in Clay County Drug Crimes Cases that can lead to enhance penalties, which are addressed below.

For example, manufacturing methamphetamines is a second-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. In this Clay County Drug Crimes Case, the criminal activity was discovered when someone smelled the odor. When people are manufacturing methamphetamines, a distinct odor is produced. That odor can also be toxic, which is why the television station reported that several other rooms in the hotel had to be evacuated. The toxicity of the fumes is also why there are enhanced penalties if the suspect is accused of manufacturing meth when there are children present. If someone is arrested for making meth with someone under the age of 16 present, the charge becomes a first-degree felony and the maximum penalty doubles to 30 years. More importantly, there is a five-year minimum mandatory sentence that kicks in. Minimum mandatory sentences are particularly important because every single day of the sentence must be served, as opposed to the 85 percent of a sentence that inmates often serve, provided they stay out of trouble while they are in prison.

Drug trafficking charges could also apply in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case, depending on how much of the drug was seized by police. A person does not have to be physically selling drugs to be charged with trafficking. Trafficking is based solely on the amount. For methamphetamines, the trafficking threshold begins at 14 grams. For comparison, possession of marijuana is still a misdemeanor at that amount. But for methamphetamines, having between 14 and 28 grams is a first-degree felony with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison.  Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney knows how different drugs are treated in the Florida statutes, and can explain the different ramifications and penalties to you or your loved one so you can make the best decision on how to proceed with the charges.

A months-long undercover operation in Nassau County lead to 23 arrests – predominantly on felony drug charges – and two more suspects have warrants out for their arrest.  Police announced the charges last month as part of Operation Sorry for the Weight, though people have been getting arrested and charged over the past couple of months, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Undercover officers say they caught people selling marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs and other controlled substances, the newspaper reported. The type of drug is critical in Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases because the charges and potential sentences are based on two factors: the drug the person is accused of possessing or selling, and the amount of the drug the person is accused of having.

In these Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases, the amount does not appear to be the issue. All of the transactions appear to be a small amount of drugs and none of the 23 is facing trafficking charges – which is where far more serious penalties, including minimum mandatory sentences, are in play.   For example, sale of cocaine is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The same second-degree felony charge applies for sale of methamphetamines, as well as hydrocodone in Nassau County Drug Crimes Cases. But sale of marijuana is a third-degree felony and the maximum prison time is only five years. In fact, for even just possession of most drugs other than marijuana, the charges are more than likely going to be felonies – rarely are the charges misdemeanors. In this Nassau County Drug Crimes Case, while most of the charges were for sale of drugs, there were several charged only with possession. Only one person, who was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, is facing a misdemeanor charge. Others charged with possession of cocaine are looking at third-degree felony charges and a possibility of up to five years in state prison.

In many of these Nassau County Drug Crimes charges, the charges are based on the men and women selling drugs to undercover officers. In most of these instances, police have video and audio recording of the transaction, which can be admissible in court if the police follow all of the proper rules and procedures.  Our Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people charged with all types of drug crimes – possession, sale and trafficking – involving all types of drugs, from marijuana and cocaine to prescription drugs and methamphetamines.

A Jacksonville police officer was arrested this month on felony drug charges, accused of bringing pills to an acquaintance who said she was in pain.  The woman sent the officer a text message asking for pills and the officer brought her a bag with six pills, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The pills were painkillers and a muscle relaxer – and all but one would need a prescription, the newspaper reported. The officer is also accused of making sexual advances on the woman but she told him to stop, the newspaper reported. In all, he is facing two different felony charges for sale or delivery of a controlled substance, as well as a battery for touching the woman, the newspaper reported.

Police said there was not enough evidence to charge the man with sexual battery but, because a battery is any unwanted touching, that’s what he was charged with. That charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail. The drug charges are the real problem – both are second-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison on each count. Not only do felonies open up the possibility of state prison, for law enforcement officers it can mean the end of their career. Most police agencies will not allow someone to be a sworn officer if they have been convicted of or have pleaded to a felony. The officer is now on leave without pay while the Jacksonville Drug Crime investigation is completed. If the officer had prescriptions for the medication, that could make a big difference in the state’s willingness to discuss a plea agreement to something other than a felony.

The facts of the case, as they have been presented in the media, sound pretty thin. The woman did reach out to the officer for the pills and appears to have been offended by the sexual advances and then called police. The officer was arrested two days later and has not been back to work since. When it comes to the felony drug charges, the charge is the same whether someone sells prescription drugs or gives them to someone for free. The difference could come in sentencing, but the law treats both actions the same. This is where the discretion of prosecutors comes into play with the hope that not every Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case is treated exactly the same.  Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes, from sale or delivery on down to possession. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one, and give you the information needed to make the best decision on how to proceed.

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