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Articles Posted in Drug Trafficking

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drugs-2793133_1280-300x200A 2-year investigation has led to 11 people being indicted for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring in Tampa and Kissimmee. 

The suspects accused of drug trafficking have been arrested and federal prosecutors claim they brought heroin and fentanyl into the region, which caused at least one death. 

The 11 people arrested all face federal conspiracy and drug distribution charges. The penalties for these crimes range anywhere from five to possibly life in prison. 

Police have not released much more information regarding this case as they are hoping to make more arrests and indictments. 

Authorities say that heroin and fentanyl were trafficked throughout Tampa and Kissimmee. Authorities do believe that at least one overdose death resulted from the alleged drug trafficking ring and another person suffered severe bodily injuries. 

The two year investigation started in 2016 and continued through August of this year. It has been a joint investigation conducted by the Tampa Bay Police, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and The Department of Justice. 

Fentanyl is a dangerous opioid that has received a lot of media attention because of its highly addictive qualities with recreational use. The United States lists fentanyl as a controlled substance. This drug is commonly used by medical professionals as a pain killer for patients undergoing severe and painful medical treatments such as cancer, nerve damage, or burn wounds. Fentanyl is far more powerful than morphine and it takes just a few minutes for its effects to kick in. This is why the drug has become so popular on the street – people with chronic pain use it for quick relief, but find themselves needing more as prolonged use causes the body to become tolerant of the drug’s effects. 

The effects of fentanyl are very similar to heroin, actually. The only difference is fentanyl lacks the euphoric high that heroin offers. Fentanyl makes users feel drowsy, hazy, slows the breathing, and slows the heart rate. The effects of fentanyl begin a few minutes after taking the drug and last for about an hour. While heroin and fentanyl are similar, fentanyl usually comes in much higher doses that are about 50 times more powerful than heroin. The high potency of fentanyl is why it is labeled as being so dangerous. On the street, this drug may be mixed with heroin and users used to heroin run the risk of overdosing by ingesting a drug that is much more powerful than what they are used to. 

If you have been accused of being involved in a federal drug crime involving fentanyl or heroin, you need to enlist the help of a Drug Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We want to help you fight the charges stacked against you, and our representation could mean that you avoid serious criminal consequences. We know how terrifying drug charges can be, which is why we will provide you with the aggressive legal defense you need. Law enforcement targets those suspected of illegally selling opioids like heroin and fentanyl, so if you have been arrested for a drug crime stemming from one of these drugs, you need to be aware that even first-time offenders face very serious legal ramifications. The stakes are very high in federal drug crimes cases, so there is no time to waste. 

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17 people have been arrested in connection to a seven-month-long drug investigation, which resulted in the bust of an alleged major drug trafficking organization.

The investigation, which began in September of 2018, allegedly found a significant drug trafficking hub operating out of 1804 South Forbes Road in Plant City.

Over the past several years, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has responded to more than 100 calls of service to that location, the report stated.

According to the sheriff’s office, the investigation involved numerous undercover purchases of methamphetamines, totaling 1,840.1 grams and $27,700 in cash seizures.

The charges range from conspiracy to traffic amphetamine to possession of methamphetamine.

When you are facing federal drug trafficking charges, you may be coming up against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, or another federal agency that will absolutely be a fierce opponent when it comes to drug charges. Drug trafficking is one of the most serious types of drug crimes. A conviction for a federal drug crime will result in harsher penalties, which can possibly include years in prison or even life in prison. Whether you are charged with transporting, distributing, or selling large amounts of drugs, our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are ready to fight for you.

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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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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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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 former Tampa police officer was arrested on drug trafficking charges this week in Polk County, along with two other men.

The 66-year-old man and two others, 37 and 24, were arrested during an undercover drug transaction on Thursday, Jan. 10.

The 66-year-old bonded out of jail Saturday, while the other two men remained behind bars.

The 66-year-old former officer served with Tampa PD for five years before becoming an attorney.

The investigation occurred after detectives became aware of possible drug trafficking by one of the men. An undercover detective arranged to meet the man to make a narcotics transaction, and the man said that he would be coming with his supplier, who would have to see the money first.

The deal was for one-to-four kilos of cocaine at $25,000 a kilo.

All three men were allegedly seen at the meeting location, and the undercover detective was handed a backpack that contained 998.41 grams of cocaine, the report stated. All three suspects were arrested.

The 66-year-old  was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, and possession of a vehicle knowingly used to traffic cocaine. His criminal history includes 1986 charges for disorderly conduct and resisting.

The 37-year-old was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of hydrocodone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His criminal history includes charges for providing alcohol to a minor in 2010 and 2013.

The 24-year-old was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His criminal history includes charges for drug possession, probation violation, battery, and failure to appear.

Federal drug crimes charges are quite severe, and if you are convicted you are facing serious consequences. If you have been arrested or have reason to believe you are under investigation for a federal drug crime, you need to retain legal help as soon as possible. Our Florida Drug Trafficking Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can begin helping you immediately.

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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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Two men were arrested Saturday night on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The men, 35 and 38, are also charged with possession of paraphernalia for the manufacturing or delivery of drugs.

According to an arrest report, one of the men was pulled over just before 7 p.m. Saturday for driving his mother’s car without the lights on.

Police allege he also had a suspended license.

A narcotics K-9 was brought in. Police claim they found methamphetamine, a large number of prescription pills and two guns inside the car.

One of the men also faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm.

Both men were booked into the Duval County Jail.

The state of Florida has taken a tough stance in regards to the growing number of methamphetamine trafficking cases. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials takes these crimes very seriously and will stop at nothing to obtain a conviction.

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A Jacksonville woman is accused of trying to smuggle 1 kilogram of the drug MDMA, also known by its street name “Molly,” into the state, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The 32-year-old woman was arrested Monday on a charge of smuggling methamphetamine into the state.

According to the arrest report, a package from China addressed to a CubeSmart storage facility on Western Way was chosen for examination Monday by border enforcement. Homeland Security special agents opened the package, and allegedly found 1 kilogram — a little over 2 pounds — of MDMA, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The Sheriff’s Office said it and Homeland Security special agents attempted to deliver the package to the CubeSmart, an air-conditioned self storage facility that also accepts delivery of packages for its lessees.

The package was left at 6 p.m. Monday in the unit to which it was addressed, according to police.

About 30 minutes later, police claim the woman showed up, looked around the area, walked into the unit and picked up the package.

She was then stopped by special agents and arrested, according to reports.

After her arrest, police allege the woman told them she met a man on a dating website and he asked her to start picking up packages for him at the CubeSmart. She said she was never paid for picking up the packages.

The woman is being held at the Duval County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

No matter the specific controlled substance and quantity involved, or whether you were arrested by local police or federal agents, any drug smuggling or trafficking accusation is extremely serious. You could face decades behind bars and other serious consequences, so your choice of a criminal defense attorney is critical to the outcome of your case.

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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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