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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.

The investigation began seven months before the raid. The information gained from the initial raid led to additional seizures and arrests, culminating in 12 search warrants and 40 arrests. The drugs seized were not just prescription painkillers, but heroin, morphine, marijuana and several synthetic forms of morphine. The manufactured drugs included fentanyl and carfentanil. Both are far more potent than morphine or heroin. Along with the illegal substances, several dozen firearms were seized.

Investigators are pointing to the problems the opiate epidemic has created. They have cited a steep rise in the number of deaths nationwide due to drug overdoses. They have also pointed to the presence of the synthetic drugs, which are often used to enhance the addiction power of heroin. The synthetic lacing also makes the drug more potent. It can easily lead to an overdose.

As most know, convictions for possession of narcotics with intent to sell carry extremely steep penalties. Besides a lengthy prison sentence, asset forfeiture is possible. When individuals are accused of using minors to distribute, additional charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or some form of child abuse charges may be added. For those accused of these offenses, representation by a skilled criminal defense attorney may be helpful in navigating the criminal justice system.

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