Articles Posted in Drug Cultivation

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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 federal jury recently found a 23-year-old cruise ship employee guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.

He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 11, 2016. He was indicted on August 21, 2015.

According to evidence presented at trial, the man was part of a drug distribution ring that imported cocaine into the United States from Roatan, Honduras using cruise ship employees at several ports in the United States. The man, along with five other crewmen from Norwegian Cruise Line, apparently received packages of cocaine from a source of supply in Honduras while the cruise ship was docked there. The packages ranged from 750 grams to a full kilogram of cocaine.

Reports indicate that once the ship had docked in Tampa, the crewmen gathered at a restaurant near the port to remove their secretly stashed cocaine packages. They then met with two local drug traffickers, who had ties to the Honduran source of supply, to provide them with the packages of cocaine. The two local traffickers were stopped by law enforcement after leaving the Channelside District. Agents claim they seized 10 packages of cocaine with a total weight of more than 7.5 kilograms. Agents also said they confiscated more than $50,000 from the crewmen.  

The five other cruise ship employees previously pleaded guilty for their roles in this case.  They will be sentenced in January 2016.  

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Shauna S. Hale and Gregory Nolan.

If you are facing transportation or federal drug trafficking charges, you need a strong criminal defense lawyer right away. State and federal drug charges for smuggling carry severe penalties, including years behind bars. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a conviction for drug smuggling could lead to deportation and might forever ban you from becoming a U.S. citizen.

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Two Hernando residents have been accused of manufacturing methamphetamine in front of a child.

A search warrant was executed at a home on the 3900 block of Withlacoochee Trail Wednesday morning and Citrus Sheriff Fire Rescue Hazardous Materials Team responded to assist with the investigation due to potentially hazardous materials.

During the search, detectives allege they discovered several items used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Deputies believe that a secondary structure on the property was used to cook meth via the “one pot” method.

A small child was present during the manufacturing process, according to deputies. DCF was immediately notified and responded.

During the search, cooked methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, manufacturing vessels, other manufacturing paraphernalia, and a large amount of meth liquid was allegedly collected.

The amount of methamphetamine seized was more than 200 grams, according to reports. Due to the amount of meth collected, a 29-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. If convicted, they face a 15 year minimum mandatory sentence in prison.

They have also been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child, possession of listed chemical, and possession of paraphernalia.

The state of Florida takes meth charges quite seriously. After being arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, you need to know that you are facing severe consequences if convicted. Our Hernando County Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton understand how scary these charges are and we are here to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

Meth is viewed as damaging to not just the person using it, but to members of the community as well. The production of meth can result in fires and explosions that can injure and kill innocent people, including children present, law enforcement personnel and emergency responders who are called to a house that is producing meth. Exposing a child to a meth lab is a first-degree felony, and a conviction carries a five-year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Causing the death of someone else through the manufacture of meth is a capital felony, punishable by life in prison.

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The Justice Department announced new rules recently that would potentially make thousands of federal inmates eligible for presidential grants of clemency, including a requirement that candidates must have served at least 10 years of their sentences and have no history of violence.

The six conditions announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, ban inmates with ties to criminal gangs, organized crime groups and drug cartels, and are designed to broaden access to early release for non-violent offenders who were sentenced to long prison terms under mandatory minimum-sentencing policies.

Up to 13 percent of the federal prison system’s 216,000 inmates have served 10 years or more, but not all would qualify for consideration, based largely on their criminal histories.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Inmates whose sentences would be substantially lower if convicted of the same offenses today because of changes to the sentencing structure.
  • Inmates who have demonstrated good conduct in prison.
  • Inmates with no history of violence before or during their term of imprisonment.

“Let there be no mistake, this clemency initiative should not be understood to minimize the seriousness of our federal criminal law,” the deputy attorney general said. “Our prosecutors and law enforcement agents worked diligently and honorably to collect evidence and charge these defendants and then fairly and effectively obtained their convictions. … However, some of them, simply because of the operation of sentencing laws on the books at the time, received substantial sentences that are disproportionate to what they would receive today.”

Cole said most eligible applicants would probably be drug offenders, other offenders could qualify if they meet the new requirements, including so-called career criminals.

Recently, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to reduce sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal drug offenders.

The commission estimated that 70 percent of federal drug trafficking defendants would qualify for the change, and their sentences would decrease an average of 11 months, or 17 percent, from 62 months to 51.

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A Riverview man has been arrested and charged with trafficking after deputies allege they found more than 300 pounds of marijuana at his home.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Riverview man was arrested Thursday and 358 pounds of pot were seized from 10728 Deepbrook Drive in Riverview.

Deputies claim that after obtaining a search warrant, they entered the home and found two separate rooms in the home being used to grow marijuana. Each room allegedly contained several large marijuana plants with multiple high sodium vapor lights, ballasts and fans.

In total, deputies found 70 marijuana plants in the home, according to reports. The street value of the marijuana is approximately $700,000.

Tampa Electric crews claim they found an illegal electrical connection at the home. The estimated alleged theft of electricity was $8,800.

Authorities said the 27-year-old man tried to run out of the back of the home but was apprehended in the backyard.

The Riverview man was arrested and charged with trafficking in marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, grand theft and own, lease or rent for purposes of trafficking marijuana.

Marijuana use, trafficking, sale or distribution is strictly prohibited in the state of Florida. Marijuana trafficking is a serious criminal offense that carries severe penalties if convicted. In addition to lengthy prison sentences and extensive fines, a conviction of marijuana trafficking will negatively impact all areas of your life, including employment, education, and maintaining custody of your children.

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A grow house was busted in Seminole County Tuesday and resulted in the arrests of five suspects from Miami.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office City-County Investigative Bureau reported that a deputy patrolling the 800 block of Winona Drive in Geneva smelled a very strong odor of marijuana coming from a home.

The CCIB obtained a search warrant and deputies allegedly found a large-scale marijuana grow operation with 49 mature plants and a large amount of harvested marijuana.

Investigators claim the majority of the plants averaged four feet in height and were located in the garage of the house and smaller plants were found in a bedroom.

Agents estimate the grow house had the potential to generate over $880,000 worth of marijuana annually, according to reports.

Five suspects from Miami were arrested and charged with trafficking over 25 pounds of marijuana.

All five suspects are being held without bond at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.

Grow house cases usually involve large-scale operations, multiple suspects and can span across county and even state lines. If you are facing drug manufacturing or cultivation charges, you undoubtedly need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are strong advocates for those accused of both state and federal drug crimes. As former prosecutors, we know how to identify weaknesses in the state’s case and explain why those weaknesses require a dismissal or at least a reduction in the charges.

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A domestic disturbance led police to discover an alleged marijuana grow operation in the house next door, according to Hillsborough County deputies.

When deputies searched the house a week later, they claim they found 283 pounds of marijuana worth $700,000.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at a home on Wilkins Road last Friday. While investigating the disturbance, a deputy claimed he noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the house next door.

4151959139_3d9b8a9b24_zThe deputy then alerted the Marijuana Grow House Task Force, and a search warrant was obtained. On Thursday, deputies searched the house and allegedly found the grow operation in a detached garage. Deputies said they seized 15 mature marijuana plants and 39 small marijuana plants.

Deputies found a 27-year-old Tampa man on the property and took him into custody. He is facing charges of cultivation of marijuana, trafficking in marijuana, owning/leasing/renting for purposes of trafficking marijuana, grand theft of electricity and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Marijuana cultivation is a serious offense in Florida. Depending on the quantity of marijuana involved, if you are convicted you could face the prospect of a very lengthy prison sentence. Whatever the specific circumstances of your case, it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible.

Owning and operating a marijuana grow house is a very serious offense. There is a potential for serious time behind bars as this charge often arises from marijuana cultivation, possession and distribution charges. When there is one charge, there are likely many other marijuana-related charges as well.

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During the beginning of the war on drugs, young African Americans heard rumors of government involvement in the crack-cocaine explosion that outraged LA’s black community. Although it was not openly talked about in the media in the 80’s, in 1996, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb published his book, “Dark Alliance,” that connected the African American crack-cocaine surge to a thoroughly planned CIA operation. Major news network entities, including The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, attacked Webb’s research, ultimately discrediting his work. In December 2004, Webb committed suicide.

7724848260_ba4500da86_mNow, Webb’s expose is being further reviewed in a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, who created a crack empire in LA during the 1980s and is a key figure in Webb’s “Dark Alliance” narrative. The documentary is being released following the major motion picture “Kill The Messenger,” starring Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb which is now in theatres.  The documentary focuses on key figures in the CIA now stepping forward to tell their stories in a series of interviews with The Huffington Post.

The film not only explores the corrupt foundations of the war on drugs, but also questions the jail sentences the U.S. justice system doled out to a mostly minority population, all while the country’s own foreign policy assisted the drug trade.

According to research from The Sentencing Project, in 1980, there were roughly 40,000 drug offenders in U.S. prisons. By 2011, the number of drug offenders serving prison sentences skyrocketed to more than 500,000. It is important to note that most of these offenders are not high-level operators and do not have prior criminal records.

The “War on Drugs” in the United States translates to mean that the federal and Florida drug laws give vast powers to law enforcement and prosecutors, which can end in the overzealous prosecution of even the most minor drug crimes, causing innocent people and first-time offenders to be sentenced to lengthy prison terms. At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers work tirelessly to defend clients accused of misdemeanor and felony drug crimes.

The penalties you could face for a drug crime all depend on the type of drug in question as well as the amount of the drug. Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys have years of experience handling crimes involving all types of drugs, narcotics and controlled substances, including:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • PCP
  • Prescription Pills

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Columbia County detectives served a search warrant on a home in Columbia County on Thursday and allegedly found 73 marijuana plants growing and made three arrests.

Police apparently received a tip about the Fort White home, which they allege was operating as an indoor marijuana grow operation.

Those arrested include a 74-year-old Fort White man, a 45-year-old Tampa man and a 50-year-old Tampa man. All three men arrested were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana of more than 20 grams and possession drug paraphernalia. They were booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility.

marijuana grow houseThe Drug Task force made the arrests and is comprised of law enforcement personnel from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Lake City Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Marijuana plants are currently illegal in the State of Florida. However, that does not stop people from transforming their homes into a “grow house.” Once police catch wind of an alleged grow house, they quickly start investigating, looking to arrest someone and charge them with various felonies, including possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, cultivation of cannabis and trafficking in cannabis. Trafficking is the most serious of these charges, requiring 300 or more plants at any stage of growth, and is a first-degree felony carrying a minimum mandatory prison term.

If you know you are being investigated by police, or have already been arrested, you must act fast and obtain the help of a criminal defense lawyer right away. There are steps that can be taken during investigations to prevent police from obtaining further evidence against you. That is why you must not delay, contact a Columbia County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today.

Manufacturing marijuana in Florida is a felony. Under the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, it is also illegal to own or rent a home for the purpose of growing or possessing marijuana plants. Convictions from grow house charges can vary from five to 30 years in prison depending on the size of the operation and if any children were present in the home.

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Investigators claim they discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in marijuana from seven grow houses in Pasco County after they stopped by to check out claims of electric theft.

According to reports, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said they were alerted to the seven houses by officials with Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative after the company learned that more than $206,000 worth of power had been stolen over the course of the past two weeks.

When investigators got to each home, they allegedly found elaborate marijuana grow operations. The sheriff’s office believes the grow houses are the work of of an organized crime ring because the wiring installed to steal the electricity at each home appears to be the same.

4151958797_286773e01e_mAs of now, only one arrest has been made. A 50-year-old Port Richey man has been charged with trafficking and cultivating marijuana and theft of utilities. Police anticipate more arrests as the investigation continues to unfold.

While the manufacturing of marijuana may not take place in a laboratory the same way many drugs like methamphetamines are produced, the cultivation of marijuana is a very serious offense in the state of Florida. Due to its Schedule I classification as an illegal substance, arrests stemming from marijuana-related offenses will generally result in felony charges.

If you have been charged with or have been arrested for or accused of growing marijuana, you are probably feeling extremely scared and under intense pressure. Consulting with a Pasco County Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton could help alleviate some of your stress, and at the same time provide you with a plan of action to make it through the legal process without suffering life-altering consequences.

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