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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Woman facing drug charges in overdose death

On March 7, it was reported that a Florida woman was facing murder charges after she was accused of selling heroin that had been laced with fentanyl to a 31-year-old woman. The woman, aged 31, ended up overdosing and dying in October 2017.

Polk County authorities who discovered the deceased woman reportedly found baggies with the fentanyl-laced heroin inside and syringes in her bedroom. Authorities conducted a search of the woman's phone. They discovered that the deceased woman had sent several text messages about buying heroin. It appeared she ultimately purchased about $95 worth. Detectives set up an undercover drug purchase after identifying the accused woman as the person who sold deadly heroin to the woman.

Alleged narcotics trafficking by employees leads to arrests

The nation's opiate epidemic is prevalent in Tampa, Florida, just as it is in other parts of the country. And with morphine-based painkillers more difficult to obtain, many of those addicted are switching to heroin and synthetic substances.

A recent bust in a restaurant is an example. A January bust of a popular eatery led to the arrest of approximately 15 dealers. 2 employees and their significant others were among those arrested. One of the employees, a 42-year-old female, is alleged to have used her children for distributing illegal drugs.

Man facing charges on 14 counts of child pornography

Florida authorities took a 40-year-old man into custody on Feb. 28 after he was suspected of downloading child pornography. He was being held in Orange County Jail without bond on 14 counts.

Authorities reportedly learned during an undercover investigation that software was being used to download what was suspected to be child pornography. The software was found to be coming from a specific Internet Protocol address. The IP address was linked to a residence located in the 1600 block of Larkin Avenue in Orlando. Authorities obtained a search warrant and entered the home. They reportedly found evidence of child support after conducting a forensic examination at the scene. Digital devices were reportedly seized for additional analysis.

“No knowledge” defenses to security fraud in Florida

Security fraud is a simple crime, but the regulations and penalties can be extremely complex. It is important, therefore, to try and grasp all aspects if you have found yourself being accused of committing such a crime.

In Florida, security fraud is taken very seriously. It is illegal for any person to operate a business transaction or practice that rests upon the deceit or fraudulent intention of another person. Similarly, it is illegal to collect money from a person that has been acquired through deception.

2 people in Florida charged with drug crimes

A 31-year-old woman attempted to hide under blankets when the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on her home in Destin at 403 Azalea Drive. Also present during the search was a 65-year-old man. Law enforcement officers arrested them both after allegedly finding heroin and crack cocaine in the house. Both people had previous felony convictions in the state, and the woman was on probation.

The arrest report for the search also indicated that deputies seized a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun along with a loaded gun magazine in a safe. Due to the way that the drugs were packaged, the deputies decided that they man and woman were selling them. Written records about debts owed and paid by various buyers were located as well.

Canadian issues with mortgage fraud an important lesson

Over the last few years, rates of mortgage fraud at both big and smaller banks and mortgage companies in Canada has been increasing. Standard & Poor's, a trusted financial services company that analyzes markets, bonds and stocks, has called attention to signs of mortgage fraud in Canada. Specifically, the organization notes that mortgage fraud may have risen by as much as 52 percent since 2013.

The ratings agency, as a result, revised the risk level for Canadian banks to 3 out of 10, which is the same rating the United States currently has. It did not adjust the credit profile for Canadian banks or change ratings for any specific banks. While this may seem like a minor issue, it is an important reminder of how mortgage fraud can impact the economy.

Florida bill aims to relax drug trafficking laws

Florida has some of the harshest drug trafficking laws in the country. These laws were passed in the 1970s and 1980s to combat the activities of major drug cartels, but they have been criticized in recent years for sending first-time offenders to prison for decades under their strict mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. State Senator Jeff Brandes feels that drug trafficking statutes in Florida should be revised in light of a nationwide opioid crisis, and he has introduced a bill that would give judges more discretion over how drug offenders are sentenced.

Senate Bill 694 would permit judges to ignore minimum mandatory drug-related sentencing requirements under certain situations without first seeking the approval of prosecutors. The bill, which has already been passed by the Criminal Justice Committee, would permit judges to act unilaterally when defendants are not involved in ongoing drug trafficking, did not use a weapon in their crimes and did not cause another person serious injury or death.

Florida man accused of selling fentanyl after DEA raid

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI served search warrants on four commercial locations in Pinellas County. The sheriff's office confirmed that the law enforcement raids resulted in the arrest of one man charged with trafficking fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic narcotic.

According to public records related to the case, DEA agents seized 6.49 grams of powdered fentanyl. During their inspections of properties in Clearwater, Largo and Seminole, agents wore hazardous material suits so that they could spray off after possible exposure to the controlled substance. A witness at the scene said that a law enforcement officer told him that touching the fentanyl could kill a person within 24 hours.

911 call leads to drug charges for Florida man

Police in Florida say that a 22-year-old man was under the influence of narcotics when he called 911 to report a home invasion on the evening of Feb. 12. Sarasota County Sheriff's Office deputies responding to the 11:00 p.m. call found no evidence to suggest that individuals had been running through the man's home and backyard as he had alleged, but they do claim to have noticed large amounts of narcotics and drug paraphernalia scattered about the residence.

The observations were enough to secure a search warrant for the Yorktown Street residence, and detectives arrived early in the following morning to execute it. According to reports, the ensuing search led to the discovery of about 45 grams of cocaine, about eight pounds of marijuana and a huge cache of prescription medications that included more than 3,000 Xanax tablets. Detectives also seized an undisclosed quantity of synthetic drugs and a number of substances that were sent to a forensics laboratory for identification and analysis.

Florida man charged with dealing heroin, fentanyl out of home

On Feb. 9, a 47-year-old Florida man was arrested for allegedly dealing heroin and fentanyl from his Hollywood home. He now faces multiple drug charges.

According to authorities, Hollywood Police Department detectives discovered the defendant was selling drugs while they were investigating a local methamphetamine trafficking ring. They also received information on his alleged drug trafficking activities from his probation officers and neighborhood watch groups. The police searched his home located on the 800 block of North 11th Avenue, where they found over 21 grams of fentanyl, more than 11 grams of heroin, nearly 3 grams of cocaine and half a gram of methamphetamine.

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