Florida man facing drug charges after vehicle search

A 28-year-old Florida man is facing a raft of drug possession and trafficking charges in connection with quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription medications allegedly discovered in his vehicle on March 15. The man was taken into custody by a Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy outside a Dunnellon residence without incident.

The chain of events began when the deputy observed the man traveling in a gold Ford Explorer SUV on Southwest Beach Boulevard. The deputy says that he became suspicious because he knew that the man's driver's license had been suspended. However, the traffic stop never took place as the SUV increased speed sharply on Kingfish Boulevard in what police describe as an attempt to flee the scene. The brief pursuit ended when the SUV pulled up at a Rainbow Lakes Boulevard home.

The deputy obtained a search warrant after a K9 detected a drug odor coming from the SUV and the officer saw the man lock the keys inside the vehicle in what appeared to be a deliberate act. According to media accounts, the ensuing search led to the discovery and seizure of $3,395 in cash, 75 grams of marijuana, 35 grams of methamphetamine, 14 grams of LSD, 3 grams of heroin and .8 grams of cocaine. The deputy also says that he found two firearms, 36 clonazepam pills, 22 gabapentin pills and three alprazolam pills.

An experienced criminal defense attorney might seek to have evidence discovered by police ruled inadmissible even when a search warrant was issued. Legal counsel could make such arguments when police have strayed beyond the boundaries established by the issuing judge or when the warrant was obtained based on questionable probable cause.

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