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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Florida man facing drug charges after vehicle search

A 28-year-old Florida man is facing a raft of drug possession and trafficking charges in connection with quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription medications allegedly discovered in his vehicle on March 15. The man was taken into custody by a Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy outside a Dunnellon residence without incident.

The chain of events began when the deputy observed the man traveling in a gold Ford Explorer SUV on Southwest Beach Boulevard. The deputy says that he became suspicious because he knew that the man's driver's license had been suspended. However, the traffic stop never took place as the SUV increased speed sharply on Kingfish Boulevard in what police describe as an attempt to flee the scene. The brief pursuit ended when the SUV pulled up at a Rainbow Lakes Boulevard home.

Former NFL player to avoid jail on drug charges

Court records reveal that former National Football League player Barry Cofield has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors in Florida that will see him avoid jail time on drunk driving and drug possession charges. The 34-year-old Cofield, who retired in 2015 after playing on the defensive lines of the New York Giants and Washington Redskins for 10 seasons, will lose his driving privileges for six months and serve 12 months of probation for the DUI charge. The heroin possession charge has been referred to drug court, and observers expect it to be dismissed after Cofield completes a substance abuse treatment program.

Cofield's legal problems began in July 2018 when deputies from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office found him passed out behind the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade SUV on an Interstate 4 off-ramp. When deputies roused the former athlete, he disobeyed their orders to put his vehicle into park and instead attempted to flee the scene according to the incident report.

Designer drugs and serious criminal consequences

While many people equate drug crimes with cocaine, heroin or marijuana, designer drugs can have just as potent effects – and significant criminal consequences. Also known as club drugs, party drugs or rave drugs, these substances are functional analogs chemically designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the target drug. Incorrectly thought to be less dangerous to users than street drugs, designer drugs are addictive, habit-forming and carry the same severe criminal penalties.

The SEC takes action against a former Apple lawyer

Florida residents may be interested to learn that the SEC filed a lawsuit on Feb. 13 against a corporate attorney who formerly worked for Apple. According to the SEC's public filing, the lawyer used his corporate position to engage in blatant insider trading. He allegedly gained or saved over $380,000 through illicit means. Because federal white-collar crimes cause people to lose faith in investment and financial systems in general, society recognizes that these offenses are quite serious. The lawyer could face up to 20 years in prison as well as a $5 million fine.

In one instance of alleged insider trading, the lawyer sold $10 million worth of Apple stock before a July 2015 earnings report was released. This led to a savings of roughly $345,000 just as news of Apple's 4 percent stock loss was announced.

Florida sheriff sets free 11 people jailed on false drug charges

The sheriff in Martin County has chosen to release 11 people from custody after the discovery that a deputy was falsifying drug evidence. Strange lab results alerted the sheriff to the situation. According to his internal investigation, he could not identify anything credible in the reports filed by a rookie deputy. The sheriff fired the deputy who had only been with the department for 11 months.

Although the sheriff acknowledged that he could not completely reverse the harm caused to the people held on false evidence, he committed the department to paying their fees and helping with expungement. The sheriff said that he might charge the dismissed deputy with official misconduct.

Police arrest 2 in Florida drug bust

According to officers with the Melbourne Police Department, two people were arrested following the execution of a search warrant. Detectives with the special investigations unit and the SWAT team executed the search warrant before 11 a.m. on Jan. 10.

When authorities entered the home, they found different types of drug paraphernalia, including spoons, baggies, needles, pipes and straws. They then searched the upstairs portion of the house, where they found a safe. Inside of the safe, the officers reportedly found 4 grams of heroin, 10.4 grams of methamphetamines, 9.3 grams of MDMA and a handgun.

Rapper faces drug possession charge

The rapper YNW Melly was taken into custody in South Florida on Jan. 3 and charged with multiple drug offenses. The 19-year-old was charged with a count of possession of marijuana of less than 20 grams and use of drug paraphernalia. The rapper said that he believed that he would be released at some point before his next tour was set to begin.

There was no update as to whether the rapper had been released from Lee County Jail or if he had an attorney. There were also no details as to why the rapper was stopped by law enforcement. While a source reached out to representatives for the artist, it was not clear if they had any comment on the matter.

Dozens arrested in two Florida drug operations

On December 20, Florida officials announced the arrests of dozens of defendants as the result of two drug operations aimed at reducing drug activity in Fernandina Beach. The operations were coined "Operation City Sweep" and "Operation Ice Breaker" by authorities.

According to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office, the 30 individuals arrested during Operation City Sweep, which ran for four months, were drug dealers and repeat drug offenders. In total, the defendants have been charged with 97 felonies and 21 misdemeanor crimes involving cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, cash, handguns and vehicles. They range in age from 18 to 53, and most are residents of Fernandina Beach. One of the defendants, a 20-year-old man, is accused of being a member of the "Folk Nation" street gang and selling drugs in and around Central Park. A search of his Fernandina Beach home allegedly yielded a sawed-off shotgun, two handguns, brass knuckles and bong masks.

Drug investigation leads to the arrest of 18 in Florida

On Dec. 4, the federal government announced the arrest of 18 people who are allegedly connected with a violent Florida drug trafficking ring called the "Bird Gang." The arrests were the culmination of a one-year investigation by federal and state authorities.

According to media outlets, the defendants were involved in crimes like drug deals, simple assaults, shootings, robberies and homicides. The drugs they are accused of trafficking include cocaine, crack, heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone. The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida reported that 100 grams of fentanyl were captured as a result of the investigation.

Florida AG accuses pharmacy chains of fueling the opioid epidemic

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Nov. 16 that the pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens had been added to a lawsuit that her office filed in May against a number of leading pharmaceutical companies. The litigation accuses the drug companies and retail chains of fueling an opioid epidemic by creating an illegitimate demand for and recklessly distributing potentially lethal narcotic painkillers.

The pharmaceutical companies named in the lawsuit include Perdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin; Endo Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Percocet; and the generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical. Bondi says that Walgreens and CVS dispensed unreasonable quantities of these powerful and highly addictive opioid painkillers and failed to meet their legal duty to notify authorities about suspicious orders. Other defendants are accused of offering doctors financial rewards for prescribing the drugs.

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