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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Is there a link between opioid misuse and criminal history?

Many Florida residents are aware of the opioid problem in the nation and some of the effects it can have on society. But a recent survey shines light on a potential connection between misuse of the drug and criminal histories. The survey of more than 75,000 participants dealt with the level of use of opioid-based drugs, including heroin. The level of use was divided into five categories ranging from no use to heroin abuse. It also included those on prescription pain killers.

The study then determined whether participants had a criminal history, which it defined as offenses greater than minor traffic violations. The results showed a steep upward curve based on the level of use. Those with no use were shown to have a criminal history in only 15 percent of the participants but a 75 percent history among heroin abusers. A criminal history was found in more than half of those with a non-heroin opioid disorder.

Florida woman accused of trafficking meth and heroin

A statement released by the Sumter County Sheriff's Office after the arrest of a 32-year-old woman on Interstate 95 did not offer a reason for her initial traffic stop. Deputies reported that they stopped her 2018 Cadillac XTS close to the interstate's southbound on-ramp in the Wildwood area. Deputies called for a K-9 unit, and the dog reportedly signaled that the vehicle contained narcotics.

A search of the vehicle allegedly produced methamphetamine, heroin and $5,098 in cash. According to a news release from the sheriff's office, authorities seized 2.21 pounds of methamphetamine and 170 grams of heroin.

Losing your license is common for those facing a DUI

Florida, like every state, does everything it can to deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking. Those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida face a number of criminal and civil penalties that will vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. If a driver causes a crash with injuries or property damage, the penalties could be higher. The same is true for those who have previous convictions for the same offense on their records.

Whether you're dealing with your first DUI or your third, you need to understand the ways in which these charges could impact your life. Other than jail time and fines, one of the biggest issues related to DUI convictions is the loss of driving privileges. In general, those facing DUI charges will also have to deal with the loss of their licenses from six months to the rest of their lives. That can wreak serious havoc with your future.

How money is laundered

Money laundering is the action of making dirty money appear as if it has come from a legitimate source. To engage in money laundering, an individual or organization in Florida will take cash earned from an illegal activity and layer it. This is the process of using accounting tricks to conceal the source of the funds. When layering is complete, it will look as if a criminal entity has obtained money legally.

In some cases, money will be laundered through the use of wire transfers or currency exchanges. It can also be done by having someone physically smuggle the illicit cash into another country to take advantage of looser banking laws. Some criminal entities will create front organizations to funnel money into a bank. For example, the organization will filter money through a restaurant before it goes into a legitimate account with a financial institute.

Florida man shot by undercover agents after alleged drug deal

On May 31, a 29-year-old Florida man was shot by undercover agents as they tried to place him under arrest. According to authorities, the defendant was participating in a drug deal just prior to the incident.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office reports that members of the City-County Investigative Bureau observed a drug transaction occurring in a car at a Chevron gas station around 2 p.m. The agents approached the car and ordered the defendant to exit the vehicle with his hands up. He allegedly disobeyed the orders, and agents subsequently fired their weapons at him.

Florida man is first to face federal charges over fentanyl death

Federal prosecutors have charged a 22-year-old Florida man with distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. It is the first time in U.S. history that a defendant has faced federal charges over a fentanyl fatality.

In November 2017, Hillsborough County deputies were dispatched to the scene of a reported opioid overdose and found an unresponsive male victim. Paramedics made several attempts to revive the victim with Narcan, but he died. An autopsy later revealed that his cause of death was a fentanyl overdose.

Florida takes a dim view of those accused of welfare fraud

Florida, like every state in the United States, has programs intended to help those who have fallen on tough times. Medicaid, for example, provides health insurance for those whose income would leave them unable to access health insurance or health care. Food stamps or similar benefits can help people struggling on low income to provide nutritious food for their families. There are even benefits to help with housing and child care in some situations.

While they only represent a fraction of applicants and recipients, some people do intentionally try to defraud the state of Florida by seeking benefits they don't actually qualify for or need. These individuals, if caught, could face very steep penalties from a state dedicated to prosecuting anyone who abuses welfare programs.

Florida man claiming to be federal agent busted for heroin

On May 30, a Florida man was arrested after Lake County deputies found 31 packages of heroin in his possession. He claimed to be an undercover federal agent.

The defendant, a 31-year-old Mascotte resident, was discovered driving with a revoked driver's license. While talking with deputies, he repeatedly said he was a federal agent and also said he had items hidden in his clothing. He then pulled out 31 bags of heroin and $900 in cash from the back of his pants. He was arrested and charged with drug possession with the intent to deliver and driving on a revoked license. He was taken to Lake County Jail and held on $40,000 bond.

13 arrested in Brevard County drug investigation

Deputies from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office have been busy arresting suspects in what authorities describe as a violent drug trafficking organization in Florida. Months of investigation have resulted in the arrest of 13 suspects so far, and law enforcement plans to serve more warrants in the future.

A 46-year-old man from Melbourne, who resided on the 2000 block of Highland Avenue, marked the 13th person arrested. Authorities claimed that he played a role in the sale of 1 ounce of cocaine to a confidential police informant. Charges against him include racketeering, conspiracy to sell cocaine, delivering and selling methamphetamine and using a two-way communication device to set up illegal drug sales. He arranged for his release from the Brevard County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

Police announce significant heroin and fentanyl seizure

Florida authorities have reported that 15 people have been taken into custody in connection with seized drugs worth approximately $7 million. In a May 30 announcement, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said that opioid overdoses in the area have fell dramatically after 3,582 grams of heroin, 770 grams of fentanyl and significant quantities of powder and crack cocaine were discovered during the search of two Crestview homes in February. Deputies say that a small amount of MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, was also found.

The fentanyl recovered would have been broken down into approximately 300,000 doses according to police. The opioid painkiller has become extremely popular in recent years because of its powerful narcotic properties, but just two milligrams of the drug can cause an overdose according to experts. Law enforcement in Okaloosa County began their investigation, which is known as Operation Payback, in August 2017. Reports indicate that the operation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

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