A 51-year-old man was arrested Friday after local drug agents allegedly found marijuana and a shotgun at a property apparently owned by the man.
A Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy allegedly went to an Ocala, Florida home to serve an arrest warrant on Feb. 7 for a 51-year-old woman. The deputy allegedly noticed several plants that appeared to be marijuana in the back yard while peering through a window at the residence, including several small plants on the kitchen table.
Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement Team agents were called to the residence. Agents claim they smelled and detected marijuana at the scene, and when they could not find anyone at the residence they left to obtain a search warrant for the property.
After receiving the search warrant, agents allegedly found 69 marijuana plants growing inside the home, three marijuana plants in the back yard and a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun inside the master bedroom.
On Friday, agents claim they found the man not far from where the marijuana plants were discovered and arrested him.
In an interview with the agents, the man allegedly told them the marijuana and the shotgun was his.
Records indicate the man is a convicted felon and should not be in possession of any firearms.
The man allegedly told investigators that he had a second residence that contained marijuana.
With the man’s alleged consent, detectives went with the man to two buildings. Detectives allegedly uncovered two marijuana plants in the yard of one property, and five in the second yard.
Agents claim the seven plants were around 3 feet tall.
In the yard of one of the buildings, agents allegedly viewed 36 plants with heights between five to 10 inches tall.
According to officials, the man apparently told agents he was selling the products from the plants he had been growing.
He was arrested and charged with two counts of cultivating marijuana and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Under Florida statutes, drug cultivation refers to growing a plant deemed an illegal substance. In general, most cultivation charges stem from being in possession of cannabis plants, also known as marijuana. The amount of drugs a person is found growing plays a fundamental role in whether felony or misdemeanor charges apply. Another key factor relies heavily on intent. There are two crimes that can be charged for drug cultivation in Florida, including:
• Cultivation with Intent to Distribute: This crime is a felony offense that carries a minimum sentence of 1 year in state prison. Additional penalties such as fines, probation, registration as a narcotics offender, counseling programs and drug rehabilitation can be tacked on.
• Cultivation with the Intent for Personal Use: While the lesser of the two crimes, this offense is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in county jail. This crime is a lighter offense because the cultivation was done for personal advantage, not for the purposes of selling or distributing drugs to others.
With a drug cultivation conviction carrying such hefty consequences, it is extremely important to develop a powerful defense strategy in an effort to reduce or drop criminal charges. Attempting this matter alone is never a good idea, as you could be subject to maximum penalties associated with a drug cultivation charge. A Florida Drug Crimes Attorney can assist you with establishing an appropriate defense for the charges you face. Often, this can be the difference between serving the maximum penalties and receiving a reduced sentence.