Articles Posted in Drug Possession for Sale

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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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A suspected drug dealer was arrested while allegedly carrying 70 baggies of possible heroin, four grams of marijuana, six grams of cocaine, $4,000 in cash — and had kids ages 1, 2 and 5 in his back seat, according to police.

The multi-agency bust happened Tuesday afternoon after investigators got a tip that a 23-year-old Delray Beach man would be at Jaycee Park with a large amount of drugs.

Officers watched as he pulled into the park, driving a 2012 Ford Edge with dark tinted windows.

When the man wouldn’t unlock the SUV, agents moved in and smashed the tinted window, according to a Boynton Beach police arrest report.

A woman and another man were also in the vehicle along with the children.

Inside the SUV, investigators found the drugs and money, according to the report.

Police claim the man was carrying more than $4,000 cash, according to the report.

The man faces multiple drug charges. He is also charged with child neglect. He is being held on bonds totaling $295,000.

Have you been accused of a heroin crime? In Florida, drug crimes are punished quite severely, especially those which involve a narcotic like heroin. Individuals who are convicted of offenses involving heroin can face very serious consequences, including heavy fines and years behind bars. Because of the serious nature of these charges, if you have been arrested for a heroin crime or are facing allegations, you need to seek legal help right away. Our South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your rights and what to expect from your particular situation. We will do our best to help reduce the existing charges or get them dismissed.

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Three women were arrested Thursday night, two on drug charges and one on a prostitution charge, after an undercover operation at a well-known strip club on Jacksonville’s Southside.

A 22-year-old is facing a charge of soliciting for prostitution, and two other women are facing drug-related charges. One is charged with delivering or distributing cocaine and methamphetamine, and selling benzodiazepine. The other is charged with possession of synthetic drugs and drug paraphernalia.

According to arrest reports, one of the women allegedly sold drugs to undercover agents four times.

The two women arrested on drug charges are each being held on $25,000 bond.

Drug arrests are very serious. The type of penalties that you could be facing depend upon the circumstances involved in your case. While your case may seem similar to another person arrested for a drug crime, every case is unique and the courts determine punishment on a case by case basis. You could be looking at:

  • Probation
  • Drug counseling
  • Jail or prison time
  • Community Service
  • Fines
  • Forfeiture of assets

Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton provide representation to those who have had been charged with a drug related offense. We can help you understand what to do after you have been arrested and what needs to be done to develop a strong defense.

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At least 13 people were arrested in a series of drug raids Thursday in Orlando and Tampa, according to reports.

Federal agents claim members of the group have been conspiring to sell heroin and cocaine since at least December 2015.

They are charged with conspiracy and intent to distribute a controlled substance.

At least $80,000 and a 2015 Acura ILX were seized, according to reports.

Have you recently been arrested in a drug raid? If so, you will definitely need the services of a highly skilled Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who can help you. When you are arrested on drug charges, you need a defense attorney who can investigate every aspect of your case with the hopes of possibly getting your charges reduced or even completely dismissed. We can assist with your case and have extensive experience in handling drug cases on both the state and federal levels.

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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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Boynton Beach police arrested 15 people in their month-long undercover drug sting ‘Operation Dirty Dope’ aimed at catching suspected drug dealers across Boynton Beach.

With 247 overdoses since the start of the year, 19 of which turned fatal, Boynton Beach police launched this sting operation in an attempt to try to slow the pace of the drug trade. Police believe heroin was involved in more than two-thirds of the cases. Police also found heroin at 11 of the fatal overdoses, they said.

Of those arrested, 11 are accused of selling heroin and cocaine to undercover officers and confidential informants, according to police. The drug deals happened across Boynton Beach in Publix parking lots, a park, an apartment complex and other places, according to arrest reports.

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Detectives arrested a St. Petersburg man who was allegedly running a drug operation involving more than $1 million worth of marijuana.

The 24-year-old is facing charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Detectives claim they have been watching the man for several years.They received a tip that he was storing large quantities of marijuana in his apartment, which led them to obtain a search warrant, according to reports.

On March 23, investigators went to his apartment and apparently found 23 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana that was packaged and ready for distribution inside his kitchen cabinets. Detectives claim they also found three guns and $87,000 in suspected drug money.

For the next month, detectives continued to investigate the man, and they claim they were able to identify about 230 pounds of marijuana — including the 23 pounds found his house apartment — and $168,000 cash associated with his operation.

Police say 230 pounds of marijuana has a street value of $1,150,000.

The U.S. Postal Service assisted police with the investigation, according to reports.

Being caught with any amount of marijuana and charged with a crime of marijuana possession in Florida is a very common drug charge. However, this does not mean you  should take these charges lightly. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could be facing hefty fines, a permanent criminal record, and a significant amount of time behind bars.

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Fifteen people have been arrested as part of a drug-trafficking investigation in Manatee County.

The multi-agency investigation started due to the high number of recent heroin overdoses and deaths in the area.

During the 18-month undercover investigation, authorities allegedly confiscated $262,500 worth of heroin, $111,000 worth of cocaine, 200 grams of fentanyl, 100 hydromorphone pills, 28 firearms and more than $327,000 in cash and assets.

Detectives believe the investigation resulted in a significant decrease in the number of heroin overdoses and deaths in Manatee County.

In 2015, the Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee Sheriff’s Office investigated 77 heroin-related deaths. So far, there have not been any this year.

When an individual has been accused of or charged with a criminal offense involving heroin, it is crucial that they consult with a Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton right away. You have legal rights that must be protected. It is important to know that under the law, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties in Florida for drug crimes are very serious, which is why we fight hard to protect those accused of drug crimes from lengthy prison terms and other penalties that can wreck their careers, reputation, and future.

Whether you have already been charged with a heroin or other drug crime, or are under investigation, it is imperative that you discuss your situation with us immediately. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can explore any and all options you have, and develop a strong defense strategy.

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A man was arrested in Brooksville early Wednesday morning for selling crack cocaine near a church.

Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the 54-year-old man at his home on Twigg Street.

Their search of the house allegedly revealed crack cocaine, marijuana packaged for distribution, drug paraphernalia, numerous guns and rounds of ammunition.

The man was charged with three counts of sale and possession of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church, as well as the following:

  • Possession of a Structure for Manufacturing Controlled Substance
  • Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
  • Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Possession of Marijuana over 20 Grams with Intent to Distribute
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm (2 counts)
  • Felon in Possession of Ammunition
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

The man’s house shares Twigg Street with three churches. It is also in the vicinity of a bus stop that services several schools, Brooksville Engineering, Science, and Technology Academy (BEST), and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office South Brooksville Community Center, according to reports.

Florida laws make it a greater crime to be convicted of drug sales within 1000 feet of a church. This can enhance a misdemeanor drug crime to a first-degree felony, which means the person convicted could face up to 30 years in state prison.

The thing about drug crimes within 1,000 feet of a church is that these cases almost always have holes, like is it really a church? Does the church hold regular religious services? Does it actually measure one thousand feet exactly?

There is always evidence that must be questioned in drug crimes cases. At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers will investigate every shred of evidence and look for flaws in the prosecution’s case. Our ultimate goal is to beat the charges against you so that you can move on with your life unscathed.

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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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