Articles Posted in Drug Manufacturing

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A Central Florida synthetic drug ring that was allegedly operating out of a chain of smoke shops called Pipe Dreams was busted following a year long investigation.

Five people were charged, including the two primary dealers, a 74-year-old co-owner of the shop and his 39-year-old wife and other co-owner.  

The man was arrested Thursday. His wife has not yet been arrested.

8042456462_8b3ce03115_zHe was charged with racketeering, sale/delivery of a controlled substance, manufacture/delivery of drug paraphernalia, conspiracy to sell/deliver controlled substance, and conspiracy to manufacture/deliver drug paraphernalia.

She will face the same charges once she is arrested, according to officials.

The investigation into the smoke shops in Seminole, Lake, Orange and Volusia counties began last August after officials received complaints that they sold synthetic narcotics.

Agents conducted a series of undercover operations and made controlled purchases in order to identify the persons involved with the drug deals, according to law enforcement.

The City County Investigative Bureau and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement searched five Pipe Dreams locations in December and allegedly seized liquid tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC and several million dollars worth of drug paraphernalia.

In raids like this, it is important to identify whether the search was done in a constitutional manner. If not, any evidence obtained in the search may be suppressed in court. Likewise, it should be determined what seized products are actually illegal. If arrested for possession or sale of synthetic drugs, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense and drug crimes lawyer on your side to make sure your rights are protected. At Whittel & Melton, our Seminole County Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers work around the clock to make sure your rights and freedom are protected.

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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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The High Springs Police Department and the Alachua-Gainesville Drug Task Force uncovered what they believe is a methamphetamine lab last week while investigating a case of fraud.

HSPD was investigating a 34-year-old man for alleged fraudulent use of a credit card when they received a confidential tip that the man had methamphetamine inside a cooler at or near a home in High Springs, according to reports.

HSPD went to the man’s home after obtaining a narcotics search warrant. They arrived at the man’s house around 8 p.m. Wednesday and allegedly found a cooler on the north side of the residence containing items used for cooking methamphetamine.

2690501345_dee8d3276d_mThe Alachua-Gainesville Drug Task Force helped execute the warrant and the High Springs Fire Department was on scene for safety reasons.

The man was in the custody of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office before the investigation began of the drug charges. The man is now facing additional charges of possession with intent to manufacture or sell a controlled substance.

In the state of Florida, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver can be classified as a second or third degree felony. The charges all depend on the type of substance involved. The consequences of a conviction for this type of drug charge are extremely harsh, with a very significant possibility of jail or prison time.

It is important to realize that in many Florida drug possession cases, the accused does not have any actual intent to sell the drugs in question. The term “intent to sell or manufacture” is usually added to simple possession charges in order to increase the penalties of an offense or intimidate the accused.

In most cases, the evidence admitted by the prosecution for charges of possession with intent to sell or manufacture are consistent with personal use. Paraphernalia found on the property is often used to tack on additional charges. However, it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove that the accused was in possession of all the drugs and/or paraphernalia that indicated an intent to sell.

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested nine people and seized almost 100 pounds of marijuana in a large-scale marijuana operation, according to reports.

Two different marijuana grow houses were broken up, including one operated by a 40-year-old Lake Wales man.

The man is allegedly responsible for six grow houses in the Lake Wales and Frostproof areas. The operation took in millions of dollars a year, officials said.

marijuana grow houseOn Tuesday, the sheriff’s office revealed some evidence they had collected, including a gun, bulletproof vest and a large bag of marijuana. The operation resulted in the seizure of 96 pounds of marijuana and 70 marijuana plants, marijuana cultivation equipment, cash and vehicles.

Officials believe that most of the pot grown in the operation was shipped to the Northeast.

Polk deputies also busted a grow house in Poinciana on Monday, but officials have not yet reported whether the two busts are connected.

In Florida, manufacturing marijuana or cannabis is classified as a felony. Additionally, under the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, it is illegal to own or rent a home for the sole purpose of growing marijuana or housing marijuana plants. Depending on the size of the grow house operation and whether or not children are living in the home, convictions for this offense can range anywhere from 5 to 30 years in prison.

A Polk County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you if you have been accused of or charged with operating a grow house. We work tirelessly to defend those accused of running or participating in marijuana grow house operations.

We are more than familiar with the tactics police use to bust alleged grow house operations. That is why we never base a defense off of a police report. Instead, we perform our own investigation in order to gather the most accurate facts. If it is found that law enforcement used unlawful means to identify a marijuana operation, did not have probable cause for a search warrant or illegally questioned you, we will aggressively seek to have any evidence suppressed and push for the charges to be reduced or dismissed.

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The owner of an Altamonte Mall jewelry store has been arrested on federal charges after his business was raided Wednesday as part of a nationwide sweep on synthetic drugs.

According to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official, the jewelry store owner allegedly oversaw a large synthetic drug operation in Central Florida.

A federal grand jury indicted the man Wednesday, the same day DEA agents raided his Windermere-area home, Altamonte Springs jewelry store and a warehouse on John Young Parkway where he is accused of storing drug paraphernalia.

spiceAgents claim that the man was not selling drugs out of the jewelry store, but allegedly laundered the proceeds through the business.

The owner and his two alleged associated were each indicted on two federal drug charges.

If convicted, prosecutors would seek to forfeit more than $13 million from the suspects, as well as the jewelry store owner’s nearly 8,200-square-foot home on McKinnon Road.

This drug sweep is part of “Project Synergy,” a multi-agency operation targeting all levels of the global synthetic drug market.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the DEA said that the latest phase of “Project Synergy” ended with the arrests of more than 150 people nationwide. Around 200 search warrants were executed across 29 states.

Authorities claim they confiscated hundreds of thousands of individually packaged, ready-to-sell synthetic drugs, hundreds of kilograms of raw synthetic products and more than $20 million cash.

Synthetic drugs are often promoted as bath salts, herbal incense, jewelry cleaner or plant food and have increased in popularity.

Bath salts, which are illegal in Florida, are comprised of substances that are meant to mimic the effects of LSD, cocaine or methamphetamine. These drugs are marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave” and “Vanilla Sky.”

Synthetic marijuana, also referred to as “K2” or “Spice,” is also illegal in Florida and a growing concern among teens and young adults.

Synthetic marijuana and bath salts are considered controlled substances under both state and federal law, which means you are looking at prison time if you are charged with a drug crime involving either of these drugs. Even if you purchased these illegal substances at a smoke shop or head shop in the Altamonte Springs area, you can still be arrested and charged with a drug crime by local authorities or even the DEA.

Along with ecstasy, peyote and LSD, synthetic marijuana and bath salts are classified as schedule I controlled substances under federal law. Schedule I controlled substances are considered highly addictive and are believed to have no medical value. A conviction for a federal drug crime charge, including possession, manufacturing, distributing or trafficking will result in mandatory minimum sentencing, which usually means several years behind bars.

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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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Polk County detectives allegedly discovered 15 pounds of bagged marijuana in a grow house operation inside a barn in Frostproof last month.

Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office claim they received a tip about starved animals on the property. They apparently went to check out the site and found 37 pot plants growing inside a barn. They also found high intensity grow lights and grow light hoods, electric ballasts, air conditioners, air filters, plastic pots used for cannabis cultivation and cannabis stalks and roots.

They also located five horses on the property and determined that the animals were not malnourished or abused, however, did need improved care. The animals were turned over to a family member.

grow house 3Detectives decided to check out the mobile home on the property where they apparently uncovered a 30-30 rifle and two 357 magnum handguns.

Detectives arrested a 49-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman.

The pair has also been accused of stealing electricity to run the barn.

Both were arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail.

Charges in illegal marijuana cultivation cases are based on the number of plants captured by law enforcement officers. Most grow houses contain large quantities of marijuana plants and processed marijuana, so you could be facing serious felony charges that carry substantial prison time. Additionally, police tend to seek asset forfeitures when it comes to drug crime cases, so you could also be looking at frozen bank accounts, the loss of cash and even your home.

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