Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

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Six people were arrested in a drug raid Tuesday after neighbors complained about needles in their yards and suspicious traffic in and out of a home on Tanager Road.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, a search warrant was executed at the home, and investigators found hypodermic needles, glass pipes and other drug paraphernalia, along with traces of methamphetamine and bottles filled with unprescribed Xanax pills.
Deputies claim that several of those arrested tried to hide pills, pipes and plastic baggies of meth during the raid.
Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled dozens of cases involving drug crimes and as former prosecutors, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend your freedom. We have an impressive record of results and have defended individuals facing an array of serious drug crimes charges. We fight hard to protect your freedom.

We provide legal representation to those facing drug charges related to:

Florida has some of the strictest drug laws in the country and the police and prosecutors involved in your case will do everything they can to see that you are convicted. By contacting our Florida Drug Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton, you taking the first step toward maximizing your potential for a positive outcome.

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Three high school students were arrested on campus Thursday on Ocala and accused of possessing marijuana-laced cookies/brownies.

Two of the students are 17, and the third is 18. Each is charged with possession of marijuana more than 20 grams. One of the younger teens has an additional charge of possession with intent to sell.

According to school resource officers, there was a fight at the school which lead to the students backpack being searched. Inside the bag were Rice Krispie treats that included marijuana, a report said.

The school resource officers and school officials later recovered two other bags that police said belong to the three students. Inside the bags were Fruity Pebbles marshmallow squares and cookie/brownie squares that contained marijuana, the report said.

While possessing 20 grams of weed might not look like much, a possession charge in Florida for that amount carries harsh penalties, even for a first time offense. Amounts equaling or larger than 20 grams indicate the possibility of the intent to sell marijuana, and carries a much more significant punishment. Possession of marijuana more than 20 grams is classified as a third-degree felony under Florida law, which is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

While drug cases involving minors are usually handled in juvenile court, the decision is ultimately left up to the judge. If a judge feels the minor exhibited especially heinous behavior, or if the juvenile has a criminal history and has been given opportunities to change in the past, they will likely be sent to adult court and processed as if they were over the age of 18. Florida leads the nation in number of juveniles sent to adult court to be processed. Because of this, you need to enlist the help of our Ocala Marijuana Drug Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We specialize in juvenile cases and can help your child defend their reputation.

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A Clearwater doctor has pleaded guilty to one count of health-care fraud and has agreed to surrender her DEA registration number, her Florida medical license and to a permanent exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to the justice department.

The 66-year-old woman violated a Florida law that requires doctors to perform an in-person office visit and examine the patient before prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance, according to the Department of Justice.

The woman owned a pain management clinic on Druid Road East in Clearwater.

From as early as July 2011 through December 2017, she billed Medicare for face-to-face patient visits to prescribe controlled substances like oxycodone, but some of those visits didn’t take place on those dates, according to the Department of Justice. Instead, she filled the prescriptions for patients’ families who came by her office, without examining the patients.

She also submitted at least $51,500 false and fraudulent Medicare claims, according to a department of justice news release.

The case was investigated by the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit.

Being a healthcare professional means you are subject to extensive regulations and civil statutes. If you fail to comply with the current health care regulations, you can expect to be the target of a federal prosecution. Our Tampa Bay Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you fight allegations of health care fraud, including allegations relating to:

  • Medicare fraud
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Billing fraud
  • Kickbacks and Gratuities
  • Bribes
  • Conflicts of interest

Prosecutors also file charges against health care providers who allegedly lie about the number of patients they treat or the types of services they perform. We are ready and able to defend doctors and other healthcare professionals who find themselves wrapped up in such inquiries.

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An undercover drug sting that began in March led to the arrest of a St. Augustine man accused of running a drug house on Grove Avenue, according to reports.

The 29-year-old was arrested Tuesday on a warrant charging him with selling heroin from his home, which is within 1,000 feet from Ketterlinus Elementary School.

The man was booked late Tuesday morning into the St. Johns County jail on multiple drug charges. His bond was set at $300,000.

The case against the man began in March when detectives said they used an undercover informant to purchase heroin multiple times from the man.

Investigators claim they have audio recording of the alleged drug deals that took place inside his home, which they believe the man intentionally used and maintained to sell heroin.

The case remains under investigation, which means there could be more charges filed and possibly more arrests.

Heroin laws in Florida are extremely serious. Possession of any amount of heroin in Florida is classified as a felony, it does not matter how large or small the amount is. If you have been arrested for selling heroin, you need to call our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as we are familiar with federal and state drug laws. You will need a lawyer who can help you understand Florida’s heroin laws and represent your best interests in court.

Possessing 10 grams or less of heroin can land you in prison for up to five years. Possessing 10 grams or more can land you in prison for up to 30 years. Being accused of possessing or selling heroin near a school carries enhanced penalties. You do not want to mess around with these charges.

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A Key West firefighter was caught with cocaine at work, according to police.

The 26-year-old was arrested Friday on a felony charge of cocaine possession after a police dog alerted officers to a locker inside a bedroom where the man was staying.

The K-9 also sniffed out the man’s truck where police claim they found an unspecified amount of cocaine.

Possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony.

The man was suspended until an investigation is complete.

The arrest came after Key West police and Homeland Security agents did a sweep of all three Key West fire stations at the same time Friday. They were acting on a tip about narcotics received by the Key West police’s special investigations unit.

Possession of a controlled substance, like cocaine, is a serious crime in Florida. This felony offense carries significant penalties if you are convicted. Simply being accused of possessing cocaine does not mean you are automatically guilty. There can be several potential defense strategies available in a drug possession case. Our South Florida Drug Possession Lawyers can investigate your case to determine whether the search that uncovered the drugs was legal. We will examine the warrant that was issued to authorize the search, if one even existed, and we will make sure every move made by authorities was legal. If they overstepped in any way, we will work towards getting any evidence illegally obtained thrown out.

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Some changes are coming our way in Florida. More than 100 bills that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law from the 2018 legislative session will take kick in Sunday, including a new state budget that tops $88 billion.

Take a peek at the laws slated to take effect Sunday:

State budget

HB 5001: Lawmakers passed a $88.7 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The spending plan increases public-school funding by $101.50 per student, though Democrats and many education officials have argued that a far lower amount will be available for basic school expenses.

The budget will provide $100.8 million for the Florida Forever land preservation program and offer a $130 million increase in Medicaid funding for nursing homes. Lawmakers also included $3.3 billion in reserves and put money into such issues as Everglades restoration, beach restoration, “preeminent” universities and helping universities attract “world class” faculty.

Tax package

HB 7087: A roughly $170 million tax-cut package provides relief for farmers and property owners impacted by Hurricane Irma, provides a sales-tax “holiday” in August for back-to-school shoppers and retroactively covers a disaster-preparedness tax “holiday” in early June that coincided with the start of hurricane season. The package also includes reducing a commercial lease tax from 5.8 percent to 5.7 percent, though that cut will begin Jan. 1.

Education

HB 7055: The law expands the use of voucher-like scholarships to send more public-school students to private schools. One program in the bill will let students who face bullying or harassment in public schools transfer to private schools. The so-called “hope scholarships” will be funded by motorists who voluntarily agree to contribute sales taxes they would normally pay on vehicle transactions to fund the scholarships. Among other things, the bill also boosts the Gardiner scholarship program, which pays for services and private-school scholarships for students with disabilities.

Child marriage

SB 140: The bill will largely block minors from getting married in Florida. In the past, minors ages 16 and 17 have been able to get marriage licenses with parental consent, and judges have had discretion to issue licenses to younger minors if they have children or if pregnancies are involved.

Under the change, marriage will generally be barred for people under age 18, though an exception will be in place for 17-year-olds who have written consent from their parents or guardians. Also, the 17-year-olds will not be able to marry people who are more than two years older than them.

Opioids

HB 21: With Florida facing an opioid epidemic, the measure is aimed at preventing patients from getting addicted to prescription painkillers and then turning to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

The bill, in part, will place limits on prescriptions that doctors can write for treatment of acute pain. Doctors in many cases would be limited to writing prescriptions for three-day supplies, though they could prescribe up to seven-day supplies of controlled substances if “medically necessary.” Cancer patients, people who are terminally ill, palliative care patients and those who suffer from major trauma would be exempt from the limits. The bill also requires physicians or their staff members to check with a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing controlled substances.

Bethune statue

SB 472: Lawmakers approved placing a statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of what became Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

The statue of Bethune will replace a likeness of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, who has long been one of Florida’s two representatives in the hall at the U.S. Capitol. The state’s other representative is John Gorrie, widely considered the father of air conditioning.

Slavery memorial

HB 67: The measure will lead to building a memorial on the Capitol grounds to honor the untold number of slaves in Florida history. The bill requires the Department of Management Services to develop a plan and costs for the memorial, with the plan then submitted to the governor and legislative leaders.

Daylight-saving time

SB 1013: The measure seeks to place Florida on year-round daylight-saving time. The change, promoted as a way to help Florida tourism, still needs congressional approval.

Veterans

HB 29: Named the “Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Military Family Opportunity Act” after a House Republican who died in December, the measure expands a 2014 law by further reducing professional licensing fees and requirements for certain military members, veterans and their spouses. This bill also designates March 25 each year as “Medal of Honor Day.”

Foreign affairs

HB 545 and HB 359: One measure (HB 545) will prohibit state agencies and local governments from contracting with companies that boycott Israel. The other (HB 359) bars state agencies from investing in companies doing business with the government of Venezuela, a step intended to put pressure on the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers would like to address the opioid epidemic sweeping across Florida and rest of the nation. Almost 80 people die of an opioid-related overdose daily. More than 30,000 Americans died in 2015 due to an opioid overdose. Part of the reason we are suffering from this crisis is because pharmaceutical companies push these drugs on people and doctors over prescribe them. We hope that the new bill (HB21) will help curb some of the unnecessary overdoses plaguing the country.

Opioid-related deaths and crimes have gotten significantly worse in recent years due to fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used for extreme pain – mostly in operating rooms and hospice care. It is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin.

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Todd Macaluso, a San Diego lawyer who once represented Casey Anthony, was sentenced to federal prison for 15 years for plotting to pilot a plane full of cocaine.

He was sentenced Thursday in Brooklyn federal court, months after he was found guilty of being part of an international drug ring.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour before reaching a guilty verdict in November 2017.

The 55-year-old was found guilty of agreeing to fly 1,500 kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador to Honduras aboard his Falcon 10 in 2016, prosecutors said. The plan was for Macaluso to bring the narcotics to Honduras, where Mexican traffickers would buy the drugs. He was going to get $200,000 as his flyboy fee, but he was arrested in Haiti before anything could happen.

From 2009 to 2010, Macaluso represented Anthony, a Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008. The child’s body was never found. Anthony was acquitted in 2011.

Florida law defines cocaine trafficking as a person knowingly transporting, delivering, making, buying, selling, or actually or constructively possessing 28 grams or more of any mixture that includes cocaine. The mandatory minimum sentence depends on the weight of the cocaine that you are accused of trafficking.

In Florida, you are looking at the following consequences if convicted of trafficking cocaine:

  • 28 grams-200 grams: 3 years in prison, $50,000 fine.
  • 200 grams-400 grams: 7 years in prison, $100,000 fine.
  • 400 grams-150kg: 15 years in prison, $250,000 fine.
  • More than 150kg : Life in prison.

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An anonymous call to the St. Augustine police Saturday morning led to the arrest of two people on drug possession.

Police claim they responded to a parking lot on South Dixie Highway and found three people sitting in a car. The people in the car allegedly consented to a search and police say they found drug paraphernalia and a substance that field tested positive for crystal meth.

Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested on drug possession charges.

With the use of methamphetamine on the rise through the past decade, many states have enacted strict laws in an effort to decrease its production, and Florida is certainly no exception. Because of Florida’s strict drug laws, police can be particular overzealous in their arrests. Possessing even a small amount of crystal meth can lead to a felony charge that carries the very real possibility for jail time, significant fines, and a permanent stain on your record that can be a nuisance in the future in regards to education, employment, and housing opportunities.

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Sarasota County deputies arrested 81 people on drug-related charges in an investigation called “Operation Spring Cleaning” on May 4.

Deputies said they confiscated more than 18 pounds of controlled substances and four firearms.

Out of the 81 people arrested, 77 were drug traffickers, according to reports. The investigation focused on drug manufacturing, delivering, and trafficking of “highly abused controlled substances,” such as Fentanyl.

Florida’s medical examiners reported 704 people died of Fentanyl-related overdoses in the first half of 2016 which led to the passing of enhanced penalties for drug dealers and traffickers as seen in Florida House Bill 477.

Operation Spring Cleaning focused on capturing sales and trafficking related to highly abused controlled substances.

A recent investigation into Fentanyl-related deaths shows an increase of 97 percent in Palm Beach County in 2016, and that West Palm Beach is an “epicenter” for opioid overdoses.

In the past few years, you may have read about more and more cases in Florida that involve fentanyl overdoses. Fentanyl is a Schedule II synthetic opioid drug that is about 75 times stronger than morphine. Even just trace amounts of fentanyl absorbed through the skin or inhaled can be lethal.

Florida statutes implement the following mandatory minimum penalties for trafficking in fentanyl:

  • 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams: mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years and a fine of $50,000
  • 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams: mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of $100,000
  • 28 grams or more: mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and a fine of $500,000

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A 27-year-old Florida man was arrested Thursday on a pimping charge during an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigation.

The man is charged with living off the earnings of a prostitute, cocaine possession and transporting a person for prostitution.

Jacksonville police were apparently digging into online ads for escorts when they came across the man, according to reports.

An undercover officer posed as a customer and met with the man and an alleged prostitute, who apparently agreed to have sex with the detective for $160, according to police.

The man and woman were both arrested.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, the most important thing you can do before anything else is hire a criminal defense attorney. You need legal help to reduce the potential damages to your life and future. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you with whatever criminal charges you are dealing with – big or small.

In your free consultation, we will give you an honest assessment of your case, including the potential defenses and outcomes, so that you are educated on the issues at hand. Our goal is to provide you with effective legal counsel that will ultimately avoid a criminal conviction whenever possible. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, in either state or federal court, our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can take immediate action for your defense.

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