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Two 12-year-olds have been charged with cyberstalking in connection with the death of a middle school student in Panama City Beach, who committed suicide two weeks ago.

The arrests came as the result of an investigation by Panama City Beach Police into the mitigating circumstances around her death on Jan. 10. According to a news release, PCBPD was made aware of potential cyberbullying against the child, which led them to examine several cell phones and social media accounts.

Through that investigation, PCBPD developed two 12-year-old suspects, who were then interviewed and allegedly confessed to engaging in cyberbullying conduct.

A male and female were charged.

PCBPD said in a statement that their investigation did not reveal that cyberbullying was the sole cause of the girl’s death, just that it was occurring at the time of her death. An official ruling on her cause of death has not yet been released by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Cybercrimes can be difficult to understand, and if you’re a parent and have a child facing criminal charges, you are probably concerned about what to do to be proactive in your child’s defense. A conviction could change your child’s life forever. If your child has been arrested or is under suspicion for cyberstalking or cyberbullying, don’t hesitate to contact our Florida Juvenile Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. We will work to protect your child’s future and freedom.

Cyberbullying involves communications via the internet , through text messages or any other electronic communications. These crimes have drastically increased with modern technologies becoming more common, including emails, texts, blogs, and social media profiles, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

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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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Two 19-year-old boys have been charged in an alleged holiday crime spree.

Pasco deputies claim the two teens went on a crime spree over the late hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas night in the Zephyrhills area.

The two 19-year-old’s are accused of burglarizing vehicles and stealing money, personal items, firearms, ammunition, and other items from victims.

Investigators claim they recovered several guns, ammo, narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and stolen property items from the suspects.

The teens were arrested and charged with over 18 felony offenses related to the holiday crime spree.

Authorities said further investigation may lead to additional charges and suspects.

Theft crimes usually increase over the holiday season. If you are facing criminal prosecution, you could be dealing with serious life consequences. You could be looking at years behind bars, a permanent stain on your criminal record, fines and other punishments.

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Two teenage girls were charged after deputies said they stole packages from the front porch of a home in Riverview.

The alleged incident occurred on Dec. 19 around 6:15 p.m. at a home on Palmetto Pine Street.

The two teens are accused of entering into the neighborhood on a golf cart and stole a FedEx package containing an Apple TV streaming router–valued at $140–and two UPS packages with a t-shirt–valued at $9.88–and hand balm–valued at $12.77–from the front porch of the home.

The suspects are a 13 and 14-year-old girl. They were charged with petit theft and were entered into the Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program based upon no prior criminal history.

Tis the season for seeing an increase in thefts, specifically, packages stolen from homes. Childhood is a time of learning rules and juveniles don’t always stop to think before they act. The number of ways a child can get into trouble are truly unlimited. Simple mistakes can easily turn into a criminal arrest, and the consequences can be serious. The juvenile court system focuses on rehabilitation and education of minors who have deliberately or mistakenly committed a crime.

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A Haines City High School teacher is accused of having explicit, sexual conversations with a 15-year-old boy in Texas.

The 27-year-old faces felony charges from Winter Haven Police.

She told police the teen told her he was 19 years old. According to police, the boy’s mother found out about the messages and told Dunlap to stop communicating with him.

Police apparently learned that the two continued to communicate through Google Hangouts.

Detectives arrested the woman at her home Sunday and booked her into the Polk County Jail.

She is charged with transmitting material harmful to a minor and using a two-way communication device to commit a felony.

Sex crimes in Florida can take many forms, but regardless of the offense, those who are charged with this type of offense need a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Those who are found guilty can receive hefty punishments, including jail time and fines.

Anyone can be accused of a sex crime, which is scary. You could be charged for offenses against total strangers, friends, significant others, family members, and even spouses. If  the alleged victims are minors or children, the consequences of a conviction are enhanced significantly.

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A couple has been arrested for several mailbox thefts in the Spring Hill area.

A 31-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested Dec. 8 for allegedly stealing items from residents’ mailboxes in Spring Hill.

The first theft occurred on Dec. 6 at a home on Pillar Avenue in Spring Hill. The resident reported the theft of three gift cards from the mailbox.

The second theft occurred on Dec. 7 along Winding Oaks Lane in Spring Hill. Residents reported seeing a man and a woman removing items from a mailbox.

The man has been charged with petit theft, dealing in stolen property, defrauding a pawnbroker and burglary.

The woman has been charged with fleeing/attempting to elude officers, resisting an officer without violence, knowingly driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Authorities said the stolen items have been recovered.

The investigation is ongoing.

The holiday season leads to more theft crimes, particularly packages and other items being stolen from front porches or out of mailboxes. While this may not seem like major criminal activity, it is actually quite a serious offense. It is a federal offense to steal or tamper with mail. This includes packages, bags and any other type of mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Individuals convicted of this type of theft can face up to five years in prison and significant fines.

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A Vero Beach Uber driver claims he picked up a passenger at a bar Thursday night, and shortly after he asked him to stop at a 7-Eleven that was along the way to allegedly buy drugs.

The driver apparently called the Vero Beach police and told the dispatcher that he wanted cops to pull him over since he believed that there were drugs in his car.

They obliged, and at the traffic stop, the officers asked the driver to step out of his car. While he did that, the passenger allegedly took something out of his right front pocket and threw it out the window, according to police.

Police claim they found a clear plastic baggie with a white rock inside that tested positive for cocaine.

The passenger told officers that the drugs were not his, and that he had simply tossed a cigarette butt out of the car during the traffic stop.

Officers arrested the passenger just after midnight and charged him with felony possession of cocaine, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s report.

He was booked into Indian River County Jail and released Friday on $5,000 bond. He has a court date Jan. 3.

Whether it’s cocaine, prescription drugs or meth, drug possession charges can have a lasting impact on your future, your career and your freedom.

If you have been charged with drug possession in Florida, it’s important to consult a drugs crimes defense attorney who will review your case and help to minimize any potential damage to your future. Our Florida Drug Possession Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you through every step of your case and make sure your rights are protected.

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Police arrested two women on Monday at the Aventura Mall who are accused of trying to buy thousand of dollars’ worth of designer goods with stolen credit cards.

Aventura police said the women, 31 and 52, allegedly stole five credit cards from a Sunny Isles Beach woman. The 31-year-old is accused of using one of the cards around 4:30 p.m. on Monday to buy two pairs of sunglasses valued at $1,400 at the mall’s Bloomingdale’s store, police said.

Police said she left the store and joined the 52-year-old woman, who was waiting inside a car in the mall’s parking lot.

Officers said they were waiting for the pair as they tried to leave the mall, having been tipped off by an earlier attempt to use the stolen credit cards.

An hour earlier, officers said, the 31-year-old had attempted to buy a designer handbag for $4,800 at the mall’s Nordstrom store. When she used one of the stolen cards to pay, the transaction was declined, police said. She tried again with another card, which was also declined.

The failed purchase triggered an alert, and the credit card company contacted the victim, who in turn contacted the Aventura Police Department.

Aventura police said that the pair had planned to resell the items that they purchased with the stolen cards. Police said they found five credit cards belonging to the victim when they arrested the women.

The 31-year-old is currently being held on $82,000 bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. The 52-year-old was released on bond. According to court records, both women face multiple charges of credit card fraud and theft in addition to the Aventura Mall case.  

Fraud charges occur when someone uses deception to obtain money or other benefits from another person. In order for criminal charges to be filed, it  is not actually necessary that the person be successful in their attempt to defraud property.

Some examples of credit card fraud include:

  • Using a stolen credit card as your own
  • Knowingly reporting purchases you made as unauthorized purchases
  • Using stolen credit card information to apply for another credit card
  • Charging expenses to a credit card without the cardholder’s consent

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, our South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can defend you and your rights. We will pursue the best possible outcome in any fraud case.

Contact us online or call us at 561-367-8777 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you. Your consultation is completely free and confidential.

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Crime fell across Florida in the first half of 2017, according to the Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

While there were more than 6,000 fewer crimes reported in Florida in the first sixth months of the year, a 2 percent drop, overall crime was nearly flat in Duval and St. Johns counties, marginally higher in Alachua and Bradford counties and there was a spike in Union County.

Crime in the first half of the year was down significantly in Putnam County and Nassau counties, noticeably in Baker, Clay, Columbia and Flagler counties.

The crimes of murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny were down statewide while the crimes of rape and motor vehicle theft increased.  Domestic violence fell 1 percent, with domestic violence murder and aggravated assault down while rape and stalking were up.

FDLE has tracked crime statistics since 1971.

When you, or someone you love, is facing criminal charges in Florida, it can be a frightening time. Perhaps you were arrested for DUI, were charged with possession of drugs, or are being accused of a sex crime. Or, maybe you were arrested for a violent crime, a weapons charge, assault or domestic violence. It really doesn’t matter what charge you’re facing because you could be facing possible jail time and a criminal record.

Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if you are facing a criminal charge of any kind. As former prosecutors, we understand how the State will proceed against you on the charges and how the local police investigated the case which helps us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Every criminal case is different, but we will mount the strongest defense strategy for your unique case and work to overcome the prosecution’s strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

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Two people have been arrested in Hernando County and are facing multiple fraud and drug charges in connection with an alleged credit card fraud scheme.

The pair have been booked into the Hernando County Jail.

A detective with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said this is one of the largest credit card schemes she’s seen here in the county in the 18 years she’s been with the department.

This all started with an investigation into a fraudulent return refund case, but detectives said they soon learned much more.

On Sunday, detectives arrested the two for fraudulent credit card charges at a Bed Bath and Beyond retail location. When detectives arrived at their Spring Hill home, they discovered the two were allegedly growing marijuana at the location.

On Monday, they came back with a search warrant for the drugs. During their search they claim they found dozens of items used to make fake credit cards, as well as skimmer devices used to capture people’s credit card information.

Credit card fraud is taken very seriously by law enforcement in Florida. Those convicted of credit card fraud are often subjected to stiff penalties, so it is crucial to the outcome of your case to understand your legal options.

In the state of Florida, if a credit or debit card was used to obtain more than $100 worth of goods or property more than twice in six months, the crime is considered a third-degree felony. If the card was used to acquire less than $100, it is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.

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