Two St. Johns County residents were arrested last week, accused of making methamphetamine in a local hotel. Police arrived at the hotel around 5 a.m. after hearing several reports of suspicious activity, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When Eric Messler, one of the people staying in the room, opened the door, police said they smelled the distinct odor that comes with producing the highly addictive drug, the newspaper reported. Messler and Tammie Roy, the other occupant in the room, were both arrested. Hotel officials closed the room and also evacuated the rooms on either side because of the toxic fumes produced when someone is cooking methamphetamine.
Messler and Roy were both charged with two Florida felonies: production of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver. Both are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Both are also facing a misdemeanor charge for possession of drug paraphernalia, but that is small potatoes compared to the two felonies. As in any St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, the judge can choose to sentence someone to consecutive terms, so both defendants could be facing up to 30 years in state prison. Under Florida law, various recreational drugs are treated very differently in the criminal court system. And St. Johns County Drug Crimes involving methamphetamines carry some of the most severe penalties for having even relatively small amounts. Trafficking in methamphetamine becomes a first-degree felony at just 14 grams of the drug. If a person has 14 grams of marijuana, the crime is a misdemeanor possession charge. Marijuana possession doesn’t become a felony until 28 grams and, in terms of producing marijuana, the laws associated with growing the drug have far higher thresholds for the amounts of plants it takes to fall under trafficking charges. The maximum penalty for trafficking in methamphetamine is 30 years in prison and there are minimum mandatory terms based on the amount of methamphetamines police find.
Messler and Roy likely had less than 14 grams in their possession, but the charges can also be upgraded once police investigate further. Meth cases have become more frequent in Northeast Florida, including in St. Johns County. Earlier this year, two out-of-town visitors were arrested at the upscale Sawgrass Marriott, refuting the notion that these crimes only occur at hotels along the interstate. (see our previous blog) Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney knows the ranging penalties associated with various drugs, when minimum mandatory sentences kick in and the sentences that are typically given in cases involving specific drugs.
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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.