Florida narcotics investigation leads to 7 arrests

Police in Florida took seven people into custody on Jan. 15 during an operation dubbed "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." One of the suspects is a 51-year-old man whom police have accused of distributing drugs in Marion County. He faces a raft of charges including narcotics trafficking, possession and possession with the intent to distribute. Law enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation into the man's alleged activities include the Ocala and Dunnellon Police Departments, the Marion and Citrus County Sheriff's Offices, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A representative from the MCSO's Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team said the operation was launched to combat drug manufacturing, trafficking and distribution in the Ocala area. During an investigation that lasted for several months and involved more than 100 officers, deputies and federal agents, seven locations used by the man to make or store illegal drugs were allegedly identified.

Deputies were dispatched to a business, two storage facilities and four residences after the man was taken into custody following a traffic stop. When search warrants were executed at these locations, law enforcement allegedly discovered almost a kilogram of methamphetamine, 369 grams of marijuana, almost 75 grams of heroin and more than 27 grams of cocaine. Deputies are also said to have seized 17 MDMA tablets, a Chevrolet pickup truck and $31,016 in U.S. currency.

When presented with a set of facts like this, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police documents carefully to determine whether the search warrants involved were issued based on sufficient probable cause. If it seems that police may have violated rights against unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, attorneys might seek to have the evidence recovered excluded and drug charges dismissed.

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