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A man dressed as Santa Claus was arrested Monday for allegedly possessing a variety of drugs, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office was conducting an investigation on Golfair Boulevard following numerous recent drug complaints when they claim the 41-year-old man was spotted standing at the driver’s door of a U-Haul rental truck in the parking lot of a business, according to police.

Police said the man stood out because he was wearing a red and white Santa Claus outfit, complete with hat and white beard.

The man was apparently seen several times going into the driver’s side of a U-Haul truck, retrieving items and walking away, police said.

After seeing police, the man allegedly ran from the parking lot where a large amount of marijuana was in plain view on the driver’s seat of the U-Haul.

Police claim the man resisted arrest.

A search of the U-Haul revealed marijuana, a scale with marijuana residue and a black pouch containing MDMA — commonly known as Ecstasy — on the front driver’s seat, according to reports.

There was also a 5-gallon orange bucket with a white lid on the driver’s side floorboard. Inside the bucket, police claim they uncovered marijuana, a yellow substance known to contain THC, Molly, Ecstasy pills and money.

The man was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail.

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A Dunedin man was arrested last week on charges of sexual battery on a minor.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office alleges that a 15-year-old girl was in the care of the 32-year-old man when he engaged in sexual activity with her on at least two occasions.

The teen apparently told an adult what happened, who reported it to the sheriff’s office.

The man is charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation.

He was booked into the Pinellas County jail.

Anyone can be accused of a sex crime. Once you have been accused, police will investigate and usually make an arrest. All it takes is one person’s word against yours. When children are involved, police and prosecutors tend to side with whatever they say happened, regardless of whether it’s true. Because of this, you must take appropriate action to protect yourself and your future. You need a criminal defense attorney who can tell your side of the story and make sure your rights are protected.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a sex crime, you must act fast and obtain legal representation. Our Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you through this difficult time. We will investigate the charges against you and make sure any evidence against you was obtained legally. We will also look into the credibility of your accuser.

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A recent Polk County six-day-long undercover sting resulted in 114 arrests.

The sting — dubbed “Operation Not So Silent Night” — focused on suspects allegedly advertising prostitution in online ads and human trafficking.

While a total of 114 people were arrested, warrants were filed on two others.

During the investigation, female undercover detectives posted fictitious ads online, and male undercover detectives responded to ads posted online by others.

The suspects ranged in age from 17 to 64 years old. In a news release, the sheriff’s office highlighted some of the arrests.

Undercover prostitution stings happen every day across the U.S. Police usually employ any tactics, even if they are not legal, to try and make arrests. Our Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand how unfair these stings can be. We can help you understand the charges you are facing and make sure you have the best defense possible.

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Four women, who range in age from 29 to 52, were arrested Wednesday on prostitution charges during a citywide sting, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Three of the arrests happened in the urban core area, but one of the women was arrested near 103rd Street on the Westside, according to reports.

In all four cases, the women allegedly offered to perform oral sex on an undercover detective for $23, the arrest reports say.

The bust was part of the Sheriff’s Office’s efforts to crack down on prostitution in Jacksonville and cut down on crime.

Last month, police arrested 12 men for allegedly soliciting for prostitution during a sting operation along Philips Highway.

If you have been arrested for prostitution, you need to understand what the law says about this sex crime and your rights. Prostitution is offering or agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution, which is the exchange of a sexual act for money or other goods or services. Florida law enforcement officers have the right to arrest any person that assists in arranging an act of prostitution.

Prostitution is typically a misdemeanor offense and the penalties for a first-time prostitution charge can include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

There are several different defense strategies that could help you defeat your prostitution charges, and our Duval County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will take every single option into consideration to try and achieve a positive outcome for your case. We are well aware of how law enforcement officers will use undercover sting operations to make arrests for prostitution. Most of these busts involve sneaky and sometimes even not so legal tactics to obtain an arrest.

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The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested 10 men last week following a recent undercover cyber operation dubbed “Treasure Florida’s Kids.”

Detectives said during the week-long operation, they posed online as a teenager or a child’s caregiver to target those looking online for sex with children.

Eight of the men reportedly traveled to the Golden Triangle area. Authorities said it includes Eustis, Tavares and Mt. Dora.

Two other men were arrested at their homes after detectives allege they sent explicit pictures.

Authorities claim some of the men brought items with them, like blankets, pillows, beer and money.

Ten other law enforcement agencies participated in the sex sting, including Osceola, Seminole, Polk and the Citrus Sheriff’s Offices.

Internet sex stings are nothing new. In fact, these are a common occurrence with police departments across the state of Florida as well as throughout the United States. Police stage these stings and use all kinds of tactics to get normally law abiding citizens to agree to their requests so they can arrest them. In fact, police will bend the rules in order to make an arrest in these undercover schemes. Many of the men arrested for allegedly seeking to have sex with a child were not trying to meet children online. Rather, they were looking for other adults when detectives started to persuade them to break the law.

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A St. Augustine man was arrested Monday afternoon after he was allegedly found in possession of a mobile meth lab in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket on State Road 16, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

The 30-year-old is charged with producing and trafficking methamphetamine, according to St. Johns County Jail records.

Deputies claim they went to Publix after receiving a tip and found the man standing next to a van with a woman.

Inside the van, deputies allege they discovered two duffel bags that contained 127 grams of methamphetamine oil, batteries, scales and other equipment used in the manufacture of the drug.

The man is being held on a $65,000 bond at the St. Johns County Jail.

Some of the most serious drug crime charges in the state of Florida are for the manufacturing of methamphetamine and meth labs. If you are accused of manufacturing meth or running a meth lab, you need to get legal help immediately. These charges are no joke and you must take them seriously. Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how to defend those accused of meth charges and will make sure you know exactly what you are up against.

We know that years of your life on the line, which is why you must act fast to secure sound legal representation. We will investigate every detail of the accusations against you as well as the police investigation conducted to make sure there are no mistakes or hidden details that could result in your charges being dismissed.

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A Citrus County man was found guilty for sexual battery on a person 12 – 18 years old and lewd/lascivious molestation of a child.

Authorities claim the 46-year-old man sexually battered the child while in a position of familial or custodial authority.

He was found guilty during a retrial after the first trial ended in a hung jury.

The man could face the following at sentencing:

  • 3 counts sexual battery punishable by 30 years each count.
  • 2 counts of Lewd/Lascivious punishable up to 20 years each count.

Once a person is found guilty by a jury at trial, one of the most important stages of their criminal case is sentencing. At a sentencing hearing, the judge will issue a written judgment of your guilt as well as a court order for the penalties imposed. These penalties can vary, but your criminal defense lawyer should be able to prepare you for what to expect.

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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has been charged with hit-and-run for an alleged wrong-way driving crash on a Southern California freeway.

Orange County prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges against Rodman on Monday for a July 20 accident on Interstate 5 in Santa Ana.

Prosecutors believe Rodman’s SUV was traveling north in a southbound carpool lane around 12:30 a.m., forcing a sedan to swerve into a dividing wall to avoid a collision.

Rodman’s attorney argues that the incident occurred on a poorly signed exit ramp. He says Rodman corrected the driving error without the cars touching, then stopped and spoke to people in the other car.

Rodman has also been charged with driving across a dividing section without a valid license and giving police false information.

He could face two years in county jail if convicted.

Wrong way driving accidents can arise for many reasons, although the most common is impaired drivers. However, this is not always the case. With the rising number of wrong way driving-related incidents, the state of Florida is seeing that these crashes can be chalked up to many other factors, including, poorly lit/visible signs, missing signs, poorly lit areas, interchanges under construction, confusing interstate entrance/exit ramps, and more.

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A woman has been arrested in Pasco County after allegedly renting out homes she didn’t own.

Authorities said the 43-year-old was arrested for scheming to defraud after allegedly pretending to be the owner of two homes — one in Holiday and the other in New Port Richey.

According to reports, she was renting out the property for $800-$850 a month.

The actual owner of the property was apparently unaware of this transaction.

The woman also had active felony warrants for grand theft and unlicensed real estate broker or sales associate in Hillsborough County.

There are many reasons why good, normally upstanding people end up facing fraud or other white collar crimes charges. Whatever the reason, our Pasco County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have one goal, which is to defend you against the charges. This means investigating your case thoroughly and presenting the strongest case possible to help you get back to leading a normal life.

We represent people throughout the state of Florida that are under investigation or facing formal state or federal charges for a wide range of white collar crimes, including:

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A female University of South Florida student who said two students robbed her has been arrested and charged with making up the story.

The 19-year-old was arrested Wednesday following a follow up interview with USF Police detectives. According to officials, she admitted to making up the story and that there was no robbery.

At 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, USF officers responded to a report of a strong armed robbery near the Interdisciplinary Science Building.

Police said the student originally told police that two white men in their early 20’s stole her jewelry near the ISA building. Officials said the student told them the men engaged her in conversation, then took her backpack from her and her necklace fell to the ground as a result of the physical contact.

After she allegedly admitted she made up the story, she was charged with filing a false police report and was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail.

USF police also the student is part of a group of four students who recently reported receiving threatening messages inside their USF residence hall rooms on Election Night.

The investigation into that incident is ongoing.

Lying about robberies has been in the headlines a lot this year, what with the whole Ryan Lochte debacle in Rio. Our Hillsborough County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge everyone to refrain from lying about crimes as you can be charged with filing a false police report, as this case shows.

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