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.
The defendants include 17 men, who range in age from 24 to 48, and one woman, age 56. They have each been charged with various federal drug and firearms violations and face penalties ranging from 10 years to life in federal prison. The investigation was conducted by the Tampa Police Department in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office.
If convicted, defendants facing federal drug charges could be sentenced to decades in prison and heavy fines. If and when they are released, they could also bear the stigma of a permanent criminal record. However, a criminal defense attorney could protect a defendant’s rights and make sure they understand all the charges. The attorney could also work with a defendant to develop a strong defense against the accusations. In some cases, this strategy could be used to get the charges dismissed or win an acquittal at trial. In other circumstances, it could be used as leverage to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors that reduces the charges.