Major Methamphetamine Bust in Florida
News outlets are buzzing about a recent drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 100 Florida residents. As reported by My News 13, two separate law enforcement operations led to the discovery of an alleged illegal drug operation and the subsequent arrest of 117 individuals. These defendants are facing a variety of drug dealing charges, while law enforcement reportedly searches for another 33 suspects.
Operation “Safe Neighborhoods” was a planned operation, with efforts focused at identifying and arresting street level drug dealers. Law enforcement simultaneously conducted an operation called “Ice Breakers,” which focused its efforts on breaking down major methamphetamine labs allegedly operating within the county. Both operations were conducted in collaboration between local police departments and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to the report, the alleged labs were producing about a kilogram of methamphetamine per month. Law enforcement spokespeople stated that the ring leaders, along with the drug cooks, and the distributors, were arrested. Most of the arrests reportedly resulted from the “Safe Neighborhoods” initiative and included the seizure of numerous weapons and vehicles.
Florida Methamphetamine Laws
The Florida code includes several statutes pertaining the possession and sale of methamphetamine. This highly addictive drug is categorized as a Class II controlled substance. In Florida, possession of this type of drug, without a valid prescription, is a third degree felony. Other relevant laws include:
- Criminal possession of essential chemicals used to make and distribute methamphetamine is classified as a second degree felony. Methamphetamine is a manufactured substance, meaning that it is manmade and not found naturally. It is also a crime to possess the chemicals that are necessary to make methamphetamine with the intention of manufacturing the drug.
- Harm to children is another state offense. An individual may face this charge if methamphetamine was manufactured in a structure where any child under 16 years old was present; or, if the person under 16 years old was injured. These charges are both first degree felonies, each with mandatory minimum sentences.
- The trafficking statute prohibits the sale, manufacture, purchase, delivery, or possession of 14 grams or more of methamphetamine. Conviction penalties vary depending on the amount of drugs involved. For example:
- Fourteen grams or more is classified as a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum of three years imprisonment;
- Twenty-eight grams or more is classified as a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum of seven years imprisonment;
- Two hundred grams or more is classified as a first degree felony, with a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment; and
- Four hundred grams or more is a capital felony, which make the case eligible for a possible death sentence.
The seriousness of these consequences makes it imperative that you secure the services of an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to represent you in your case. A knowledgeable attorney may use a variety of defense strategies to successfully maintain your innocence or have the case dismissed.
If you are facing criminal drug charges, contact an experienced defense attorney to discuss your defense. Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group serves clients in the Tampa area. Contact us today for a free case consultation.