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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Florida narcotics investigation leads to 7 arrests

Police in Florida took seven people into custody on Jan. 15 during an operation dubbed "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." One of the suspects is a 51-year-old man whom police have accused of distributing drugs in Marion County. He faces a raft of charges including narcotics trafficking, possession and possession with the intent to distribute. Law enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation into the man's alleged activities include the Ocala and Dunnellon Police Departments, the Marion and Citrus County Sheriff's Offices, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A representative from the MCSO's Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team said the operation was launched to combat drug manufacturing, trafficking and distribution in the Ocala area. During an investigation that lasted for several months and involved more than 100 officers, deputies and federal agents, seven locations used by the man to make or store illegal drugs were allegedly identified.

Attempt to pass counterfeit bills lands heroin user in jail

The clerk manager at a Florida motel alerted local deputies to a man who attempted to pay for his room with counterfeit $100 bills. The employee at the motel located on Pine Forest Road near Interstate 10 said he refused to accept the bills that a man brought into the office and contacted the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies went to the man's motel room, he confessed to possessing the counterfeit money. The bills had Chinese characters on them and identical serial numbers. As he was placed under arrest, the 33-year-old man warned deputies that he had a needle containing heroin in his pocket. Deputies field tested the substance in the needle and made a preliminary determination that it was heroin.

Florida man pleads no contest on drug charges

A Florida man has been sentenced to 25 years in a state prison for possessing a controlled substance, trafficking heroin and resisting arrest. The sentence was handed down during a Dec. 18 hearing in Escambia County. A spokesperson from the Office of the State Attorney said that the 46-year-old Pensacola resident was sentenced to the mandatory minimum for his offenses, which means that he will serve the entire 25 years.

The sequence of events that led to the sentence began on April 24 when the Pensacola Police Department received a 911 call from an individual who was worried about the man driving while impaired. PPD officers claim to have found the man passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. A search of the man's car allegedly led to the discovery of a set of digital scales, two bags containing the opioid Tramadol and approximately 74 grams of heroin. Officers say that the man resisted when they attempted to place him in handcuffs.

Claiming testing inaccuracies are a great DUI defense

Being accused of a DUI can lead to criminal charges, the inability to use your vehicle and even jail time. That said, so many people are accused of driving under the influence when they were not, in fact, over the limit.

If you believe that how your breath test was conducted was faulty or inaccurate, you can use this to form your defense and potentially have your case dismissed. Exploring the full range of defense options can help you make the right decision. The following are some of the most common DUI defenses relating to inaccurate testing procedures and technologies.

Sheriff's office announces record heroin seizure

Police in Florida have reported that a multi-state narcotics investigation has resulted in the apprehension of seven suspects on drug possession and drug trafficking charges and the seizure of illegal drugs worth more than $9 million. Three of the individuals taken into custody were in the United States illegally according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office representative.

The investigation was launched when PCSO deputies were informed that large quantities of methamphetamine were being smuggled into California from Mexico and then mailed to Florida. An undercover drug buy was arranged in Bloomington, California, that is said to have led to the arrest of two men and the seizure of approximately 137 pounds of methamphetamine worth about $4.6 million. This operation also allegedly uncovered information about additional drug traffickers.

Man faces drug charges after police stop in Florida

A 37-year-old man in Florida was taken into custody in October on drug-related charges. The incident happened around 9:40 p.m. when the man reportedly ran a stop sign in Fort Pierce.

Law enforcement then pursued him. According to police, before the man's vehicle came to a stop, he was observed making movements that they found suspicious. He was described as leaning across the center of the car trying to throw something out the window on the passenger side.

Florida deputies raid alleged "crack haven"

Sheriff's deputies in Florida gave the occupants of what has been described as a 'crack haven" an ultimatum on Nov. 8. Deputies from the Bradford County Sheriff's Office were assisted by deputies from the Clay County Sheriff's Office when they visited a Keystone Heights residence that neighbors say has become an eyesore and a major source of narcotics activity in the area. Deputies told the occupants of the Southeast 46th Loop home that they had become a nuisance and their behavior would no longer be tolerated by the community or its law enforcement agencies.

Deputies say that they found a significant quantity of illegal drugs and several items of drug paraphernalia inside the home. A 32-year-old woman who police believe owns the property was taken into custody at the scene. A 39-year-old woman was also arrested. Both women face a raft of drug charges including methamphetamine possession, heroin possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

U.S. House passes federal law banning animal cruelty

On Oct. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a federal crime to commit acts of animal cruelty. The bipartisan legislation, which received unanimous approval, was introduced by Florida Reps. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and Vern Buchanan, a Republican.

In 2010, Congress passed a law banning the creation and distribution of videos depicting animal crushing and other forms of animal cruelty. However, that bill failed to outlaw general acts of violence against animals. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT, closes that loophole by making it a federal crime to "intentionally engage" in the burning, drowning, impaling, suffocating or harming of animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. The law would only apply to interstate and international cases and wouldn't interfere with state and local laws on animal abuse.

Florida authorities bust major heroin ring

On Oct. 9, Florida authorities announced that they took down a major drug ring that had been operating in the counties of Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton. The bust led to the arrests of four people.

According to a report, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies executed an arrest warrant at a resort in Destin and a search warrant at another location in Miramar Beach. These actions led to the arrests of two men, ages 38 and 43, and the seizure of a large quantity of drugs. Two other men, ages 37 and 40, were previously taken into custody.

Parent pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

A scandal has drawn attention to the desperate measures taken by wealthy, well-connected parents in Florida and around the country to get their kids into high-ranking colleges. One businessman was sentenced to four months in prison and 500 hours of community service after being convicted of playing a role in an admissions fraud scheme. The 53-year-old man was also fined $95,000. He admitted to paying $250,000 to a man providing services to doctor a student's history in order to help his son gain admission to the University of Southern California.

While the man's son did not receive an athletic scholarship, he was admitted to the university as a fake recruit to the water polo team. This meant that he had to meet lower standards for admission than a non-athlete student. The man is one of 15 parents who have pleaded guilty in cases related to the allegations of college admissions fraud. Actress Felicity Huffman was another parent caught up in the scandal. She was sentenced to two weeks in prison after paying $15,000 to an administrator of a test to correct her daughter's SAT answers before submitting the test for scoring.

Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
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