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Marion County sheriff’s deputies allegedly removed 212 grams of methamphetamine Thursday from a house in the 100 block of Southwest 87th Place south of Ocala.

The discovery was apparently made when the caretaker of the home arrived to drop off some mail, according to a MCSO report. The owner of the house does not live at the home.

Deputies claim that when the owner opened the back door of the property, he saw someone run into the front bedroom. The man told police that he confronted the person, who apparently told him that someone else was in the camper in the backyard.

Illegales_Methlab_(USA)The property owner allegedly witnessed a man in the camper cooking meth. The caretaker called 911, and the man in the camper fled.

The Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team arrived at the scene and reported finding 212 grams of meth in paint cans.

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing.

Also known as “crystal meth,” “crank,” “ice” or “chalk,” methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that is not only extremely dangerous, but one which has grown increasing popular in Florida and throughout the United States. Florida law enforcement and prosecutors combined have recently cracked down on those who produce meth or maintain a meth lab because of the potential danger of the drug and the side effects, which can be fatal.

Characteristically, the term manufacturing brings to mind visions of large scale factory-type operations that generate massive quantities of illegal drugs. However, meth labs are actually extremely portable, so much in fact, that most labs can fit inside the trunk of a car. Trailers, campers and even motel rooms have become popular locations for meth lab operations.

Whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender, manufacturing, trafficking or distributing methamphetamines can lead to lengthy prison sentences. Pleading guilty to manufacturing charges or simply relying on a public defender is never a good idea when decades of your freedom are on the line and the stakes are this high. A Drug Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can relentlessly challenge every angle of the prosecution’s case against you. We can challenge the arrest, the search, the seizure and any warrants and statements.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is currently being investigated for a possible sexual assault that occurred earlier this month in Miami, according to a report.

Reports indicate that the investigation is in its beginning stages. No charges have been filed yet.

The Special Victims Unit is apparently looking into the allegations.

According to Miami police, they are investigating a “suspicious incident” that also involves 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette.

Colin_Kaepernick_(cropped)The report alleges that the three players and an unnamed woman were drinking and smoking marijuana from a bong at Lockette’s apartment at the Viceroy Hotel on April 1 when the woman, who claims she had a prior sexual relationship with Kaepernick, felt light-headed and went to lie down in a bedroom.

The woman apparently told police that Kaepernick joined her in the bedroom and undressed her, but the two did not have sexual relations. Patton and Lockette allegedly “peeked” into the bedroom and she told them to leave.

The report states that the woman woke up in the hospital the next morning with no further memories from the night before and was unaware of how she ended up in the hospital.

If you or someone you care about is under investigation or has been arrested or charged with sexual assault in Miami-Dade County, a fundamental piece of an effective defense strategy is to hire an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you. A Miami-Dade County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can investigate every shred of evidence against you and develop a powerful and aggressive line of defense in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

People charged with sexual assault or other types of sex crimes face harsh judgments from the public and the media and must face hostile prosecutors. Unfortunately, most people are quick to jump to conclusions in these cases and are all too willing to believe the worst about those accused of sexually motivated crimes. At Whittel & Melton, we know firsthand that not all people accused of sex offenses are actually guilty of the charges stacked against them. We believe that those accused of sexual offenses deserve a fair trial and the best possible representation.

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A Rock Harbor woman was arrested Monday night after police claim she used a belt in an attempt to strangle a 10-year-old boy.

According to reports, a second child witnessed the alleged incident and called a relative for help. The relative then called the Sheriff’s Office who responded to the residence at the 95.3 mile marker of the highway around 10:30 p.m.

When deputies arrived at the scene they allegedly found a 31-year-old woman who was so intoxicated she could hardly speak. Police claim the relative who reported the incident said the woman has ongoing issues involving alcohol.

woman_in_handcuffsBoth children relayed the same story to police, claiming that the woman placed a belt around the 10-year-old boy’s neck and began tightening it. They apparently told police that the woman said she was going to kill the boy while she attempted to strangle him.

The woman was charged with aggravated battery on a child and was taken to jail.

A charge for aggravated battery on a child in Monroe County can have severe consequences on your life. A conviction for this felony can lead to significant time behind bars and costly fines. While these penalties are serious, perhaps even more damaging is the lasting havoc these charges can wreak on your family life and personal reputation. In order to successfully fight these charges and protect your future, you must work with a criminal defense attorney who can safeguard your rights. A Monroe County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you aggressively fight these allegations.

In order to be convicted for aggravated battery on a child, prosecutors must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Many of these elements can be difficult to prove, as there is often little to no evidence to clearly support these claims. As former prosecutors, we are very familiar with the tactics that the prosecution uses to present their case and can put this knowledge to work for you. Just because you have been arrested for a crime, this does not automatically mean a conviction will follow. There are many viable defense options that can combat these false or exaggerated charges and result in a positive outcome.

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On Friday, a federal judge sentenced a south Florida doctor to more than six years in prison for her involvement in writing prescriptions for thousands of painkillers to addicts and drug dealers.

She was convicted of money laundering.

In July of 2013 a jury acquitted the 43-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man on charges that their roles in a chain of South Florida pain clinics led to the deaths of nine patients. They both faced up to life in prison and $2 million in fines.

pillsThe doctors and their defense team fought to prove that they were unaware of the conspiracy and were practicing medicine in line with state standards, which allow licensed physicians to dispense opioid pain pills without fear of punishment.

However, the jury convicted the pair of money laundering for their role in the “pill mill” scheme.

A U.S. District Judge sentenced the female doctor to 78 months in prison, while the man received 18 months. Both must also pay $10,000 in fines.

The woman’s lawyer says they plan to appeal the conviction.

The two doctors’ trial ended a four-year operation that targeted a slew of South Florida pain clinics that resulted in racketeering charges against 32 people in 2010.

The clinics owner is currently serving more than 17 years in prison and his brother and co-owner is serving more than 15. Both brothers testified on the government’s behalf.

At one point in time Florida had 90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians in the nation and 53 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing pharmacies.

The majority of these pills were pushed up the East Coast and sold at high markups in rural communities reaching from northern Alabama to western Pennsylvania. Interstate 95 was actually nicknamed Oxy Alley by dealers who frequently drove hundreds of miles to South Florida to buy cheap pain pills.

Florida law enforcement has been trying hard to crack down on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse within recent years. However, the restriction on painkillers has led to more heroin abuse.

Deaths from heroin rose 89 percent in Florida, from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. According to reports, the heroin problem in south Florida has reached epidemic proportions.

Money laundering is a very serious federal crime that entails taking unlawfully obtained money and working to incorporate it so it appears to come from a lawful source. In general, money laundering involves a string of various financial transactions and multiple bank accounts. Today’s technology only makes these cases that much more complex, oftentimes complicating paper trails and making many Internet transactions harder to trace.

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The pastor of a Brandon evangelical Spanish-speaking church was arrested this morning after being accused of molesting three females in the congregation.

Detectives claim the abuse went on for a couple of years.

The 44-year-old is charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The ages of the alleged victims are 12, 17 and 43.

Deputies claim the 17-year-old said the man touched her inappropriately on approximately 15 different occasions beginning in 2011.

churchThe victim alleges that the man told her he was doing this because he loved her as a pastor and she was not to tell anyone because he could get in trouble.

The 43-year-old claims the man touched her inappropriately in April of 2013. She told deputies that he told her it was a way to cure a medical condition, according to reports.

Reports indicate that the 12-year-old was touched inappropriately by the man two times a week for the past year.

Detectives began investigating the allegations after the three alleged victims learned that the man was behaving inappropriately with all of them.

The pastor has denied all the allegations to investigators.

He is currently being held in the Hillsborough County Jail and is expected to be at a bond hearing Saturday morning.

Sadly, there are circumstances when an adult is wrongfully accused of lewd and lascivious molestation. Law enforcement agents are quick to take the word of children who may have made false allegations in order to gain something from hurting the accused. If you or someone you know has been charged with lewd and lascivious molestation in the Tampa Bay area, a Hillsborough County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you through this difficult and confusing time. As soon as you contact us we can immediately assess the situation and recommend the best legal strategy for your defense.

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A Bunnell police officer was arrested last week after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement accused him of soliciting teenage boys online.

The 30-year-old Palm Coast man was arrested Mar. 25 on two counts of computer pornography and child exploitation, and one count of criminal use of personal identification information.

facebookThe FDLE said they began investigating the man in December 2013 after receiving complaints regarding his behavior. Investigators claim the man created a fraudulent Facebook account posing as a teenage girl and used the account to solicit teenage boys. FDLE alleges the conversations turned sexual when the man requested sexual photos from the teens.

Reports indicate the man was arrested at Bunnell City Hall by deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Flagler County Jail with bail set at $125,000.

He posted bond later that night and was released.

Bunnell police said the man has been suspended without pay.

Sex offenses involving juveniles are punished harshly in Flagler County and throughout the state of Florida. In fact, Florida has some of the harshest sentences for sex offenders in the nation, and penalties often include any number of years up to life in prison, considerable fines and other strict consequences. For most, being forced to register as a sexual offender is the most detrimental penalty of all. Registered sex offenders face many struggles as this can not only ruin careers and reputations, but restrict where they can work and even live.

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A St. Lucie County high school teacher has been arrested and charged with six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct involving six teen victims.

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the 68-year-old for several weeks and arrested the man on March 18. He was booked into the Indian River County jail with bail set at $600,000.

The alleged illegal activity took place during the current school year and apparently involved victims ranging in age from 14 to 15, according to investigators.

According to the arrest report, the man’s conduct “went well beyond a causal or friendly contact and was for a lewd and lascivious purpose.”

arrested 3Police also claim that the man said to at least one victim that he “can’t wait until you’re 18. Actually, we’re doing it sooner.”

Investigators alleged they located a mirror “affixed to the underside of the suspect’s desk,” according to the arrest report.

If you are a teacher that has been accused of a sex crime involving a student or students, it is important to act quickly and retain a sex crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible. While the media and the general public tend to side with the alleged victims in sex crimes cases, what happens in the court room is an entirely different story. A St. Lucie County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you fight back against false sex crimes charges so that you can get back to your life and your career as soon as possible.

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A bar popular with college students in downtown Boca Raton was the scene of two fights earlier this month, and has been the place of nearly a hundred arrests since its opening last June, according to Boca Raton police records.

Police are now saying that the high number of disturbances at 101 Cantina in downtown Boca must be dealt with.

The bar’s Boca Raton location had its grand opening party on June 8, 2013. Since then, officers have responded to 92 calls for service for incidents including fights, vandalism, beverage violations and other disturbances, according to police records.

The total number of arrests at this point is 98. Of the total arrests, the majority are due to underage drinking.

bar hoochIn fact, according to police records, 78 of the 98 arrests were for possession of alcohol by a minor. While underage drinking charges do not generally result in the suspect being taken to jail, police still give suspects notices to appear in court at a later date, which counts as an arrest.

The suspects arrested at 101 Cantina range in age from 17 to 20. Police claim they are working with state regulators and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office to address issues at the bar.

As for the two fights earlier this month, one involved an 18-year-old Boca Raton man who was allegedly jumped by a group of about six to eight males as he was leaving, according to the incident report. Police noted that “there were over 200 people in the area” when the fight happened, and no witnesses were able to describe the suspects. No arrests have been made.

The second fight, apparently happened at about 2:30 a.m. and resulted in the arrest of a 21-year-old man who faces a charge of causing a disturbance.

In the state of Florida, it is considered illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcoholic beverages. A conviction for underage drinking can vary depending on the details of the case, but maximum penalties generally include up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500. In addition to time behind bars and fines, the defendant could also face driver’s license suspension or revocation. In order to protect yourself from the strict consequences that come along with an underage drinking conviction, you must act quickly and enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney.

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A West Palm Beach woman faces federal charges of identity theft and tax fraud after she allegedly stole personal information from more than 700 people.

The 39-year-old woman is accused of stealing personal information and storing  it in a notebook that included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Investigators allege the woman may have used some of the names to get prescription drugs, according to federal court records.

The accused and two others were arrested in October 2012 for credit card fraud greater than $100 in Martin County. Police were notified after a shoplifting incident was reported at the Treasure Coast Mall.

Once detained, officers claim they uncovered notebooks filled with 726 names and Social Security numbers, most of which belonged to people in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach,  20 debit cards and an iPad, according to federal records.

identity theftAccording to IRS investigators, most of the names and account numbers the woman had in her possession were used to file fraudulent tax returns that sought tax refund payments to credit and debit cards.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office referred the woman’s case to the IRS. Federal records indicate that the woman told federal investigators a man she knew had broken into a car on the day of her arrest, and stole credit cards and a gun.

The woman and the two men she was with are all convicted felons. According to Palm Beach County records, the woman pleaded guilty to felony battery in 2000 and 2004. She was also convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card in Palm Beach County in 2001.

She allegedly admitted to police that she and one of the men had broken into multiple cars and stolen credit cards. Police claim she told them she stole identification information to help others. She denied filing false tax returns.

However, investigators claim the woman filed false 2012 tax returns in early 2013 after her October 2012 arrest. Federal documents allege that the woman’s home contained additional names, information and letters from the IRS not addressed to her. Records indicate that the woman also had tax software on her computer with 2012 tax return information.

Investigators allege they found multiple returns that had been filed from the woman’s IP address.

The woman faces charges of unlawful possession of unauthorized access devices and five counts of aggravated identity theft. She faces 10 years in prison if convicted and is currently being held without bail.

If you have been charged with identity theft or any other related crimes, you must act fast and mount a hard-hitting, proactive defense. Make no mistake that the prosecution will be pushing hard for a conviction, and failing to address these charges early on could be the difference between a conviction and a successful outcome.

Due to the advances in technology and the Internet, identity theft has become a major criminal offense within the past few years. Often times these offenses cross state lines or are charged alongside with other serious criminal offenses, thus making them federal crimes. A Martin County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton knows the unique differences between state and federal criminal charges and can provide you with the strongest legal representation so that you can achieve an outcome that you can live with.

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A former Broward Christian School coach was arrested last month on charges of procuring a minor for prostitution after police claim he organized a meet up between two detectives posing as teenagers and another undercover detective posing as a client.

The 63-year-old West Park man was arrested on Feb. 5. According to Fort Lauderdale police, at the time of his arrest, detectives found more than 300 index cards in his possession with females’ first name, descriptions, telephone number and their hobbies.

broward countyDetectives are not sure how the man knew these women. Police are looking into whether he met some of them when he worked as a teacher and coach at Plantation’s Broward Christian School. He has not been employed at the school since 2001.

Police are going through the index cards and contacting everyone at the phone numbers listed.

Fort Lauderdale Police’s Human Trafficking Unit began investigating the man in January, after receiving a tip that the man was recruiting young and old females for sex trafficking.

In January, an undercover female detective posing as a 16-year-old apparently received multiple phone calls and text messages from the man. Police claim the conversations were sexually explicit.

Reports indicate that another undercover detective posing as a potential client called the man requesting to have sex with a 15- and 16-year-old. The man allegedly showed pictures to the undercover detective and told him he would arrange a meeting that would cost $200.

The man allegedly arranged for the group to meet at a Fort Lauderdale Dunkin Donuts on Feb. 5. According to the report, the man told the detective “to have fun and go handle your business.”

In addition to the charges of procuring a minor for prostitution, he was also charged with unlawful use of a telephone to set up the meeting.

The state of Florida has many regulations when it comes to prostitution, but those that carry the harshest penalties involve children and prostitution. If you or someone you care for has been arrested for or charged with procuring a minor for prostitution or similar charges, you must seek the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Not only do these charges carry strict consequences if convicted, but the harsh social stigmas one can face from a guilty verdict can be overwhelming.

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