On July 26, a Florida jury found a Pensacola man guilty of multiple drug trafficking charges. A judge sentenced him to 15 years in state prison on the same day.
According to prosecutors, deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve an arrest warrant on the defendant at the Quality Inn on New Warrington Road on Dec. 8. He was not there, but they were able to track him down at a barbershop on Chief’s Way. As they took him into custody, they asked if he had anything illegal in his possession. He said he was carrying illicit drugs. They searched him and found a black sock containing less than 20 grams of marijuana, 51.03 grams of methamphetamine, 7.75 grams of fentanyl, 18.14 grams of heroin, and an unspecified amount of cocaine.
The defendant was arrested and eventually convicted of trafficking in heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl and possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Florida has no parole system, so he will have to serve his entire 15-year sentence. Court documents show he has prior convictions for selling cocaine and drug possession on his record.
Florida takes drug crimes very seriously. For example, drug possession charges can be punished by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and drug trafficking charges can be punished by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine. Because the potential consequences are so serious, many defendants facing felony drug charges choose to retain a criminal defense attorney to represent them in court. An attorney could protect a client’s rights throughout the legal process and work to develop a defense strategy against the accusations. This could lead to the charges being reduced via a plea deal or even completely dismissed due to lack of evidence or other factors.