Cracking Down on Drug Smuggling in the Caribbean
MIAMI — Federal authorities have intercepted $35 million worth of cocaine from alleged smugglers in the Caribbean Sea. Source
On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard offloaded 2,300 pounds of cocaine at their base in Miami Beach. Officials said they seized the drugs after an air crew spotted suspicious packages on a boat last week.
Drug trafficking is the term used to describe the production, distribution and sale of illegal drugs. In the United States, such drugs include cocaine, heroin, PCP, LSD, methamphetamines and marijuana.
Globally, drug trafficking is a multibillion dollar industry. As a profitable industry, illegal drug sales also fund the purchase of illegal weapons often used to fund organized crime and civil wars in developing countries. Even with stringent law enforcement efforts and penalties, authorities worldwide engage in a constant struggle to stop the illicit drug trade.
In the United States, a special government agency exists for the sole purpose of monitoring and discouraging drug trafficking. The Drug Enforcement Administration, also known as the DEA, is a federal agency which exists to enforce American drug laws by thoroughly investigating people suspected of the production, distribution, smuggling and sale of illegal drugs. The DEA functions with the help and cooperation of private citizens and lawmakers, as well as other local, state and international law enforcement agencies.
Penalties for drug trafficking may vary, but in most places penalties are intended to be severe enough to discourage individuals from engaging in selling drugs.
While laws vary according to jurisdiction, individuals charged with drug possession usually face stiff penalties, which include property forfeiture, hefty fines and time in prison. In certain jurisdictions, when people are caught smuggling or selling drugs, individuals will sometimes hire a drug trafficking lawyer who specializes in defending individuals accused of such crimes. Even with legal counsel, however, drug trafficking laws designed to deter people from producing and selling drugs are strictly applied.
Drug Trafficking Penalties and Sentences
Drug trafficking prosecuted as a first degree felony can result in a range of sentences. Florida law sets a maximum term of thirty years for a first degree felony. However, state laws also establish specific terms of imprisonment that depend on the type of drug and the quantity of the drug involved in the trafficking activities. Some trafficking offenses include mandatory minimum sentences and the punishment escalates with a greater quantity of controlled substances. For example, the trafficking of marijuana in an amount between 25 pounds and 2,000 pounds requires a minimum sentence of imprisonment for three years and a fine of $25,000. If the offense involves between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, the minimum term of imprisonment increases to seven years and a fine of $50,000. Though state laws set minimum sentences, the prosecutor may be able to pursue sentences greater than the minimum, if permitted to do so by the Florida Statutes.
For drug distribution activities prosecuted as possession with an intent to sell, a third degree felony, the term of imprisonment can last for up to five years and require a fine up to the amount of $5,000. A second degree felony conviction may result in a term of imprisonment for up to fifteen years and a fine in an amount up to $10,000.
A defendant should understand that Florida state laws allow enhanced sentencing for defendants who have prior felony convictions. State law refers to these defendants as “career criminals” and “habitual felony offenders.” If the defendant qualifies for an enhanced sentence, a conviction will likely lead to an increase in the term of imprisonment.
Florida Drug Distribution Statute
Florida Statutes Section 893.135
Florida Statutes Section 893.13
West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney
In Florida, drug trafficking charges depend on the type of drug and the amount in possession. Possession of more than 20 grams of Marijuana is a felony charge. Possessing more than four grams of Oxycodone may result in a minimum mandatory prison sentence of three years whether you intended to sell the drugs or not.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida, we take a proactive approach in defending clients against drug trafficking charges. We use our experience handling drug crimes and our knowledge of Florida law to reduce charges from trafficking to drug possession. Often we help our clients avoid prison by encouraging them to immediately start community service or complete a drug class.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact our office for a free consultation.
Florida law has a mandatory two year license revocation period for any drug trafficking charge, including trafficking of Roxicodone (Roxies), Xanax, Cocaine, Marijuana and Oxycodone.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., we provide aggressive defense strategies that help our clients avoid harsh penalties:
- Entrapment: Sometimes, police officers will trick an individual into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. If this describes your situation, our defense team will defend you by arguing entrapment and attempt to have your case dismissed.
- Illegal search and seizure: If the evidence against you was obtained without a search warrant, Attorney Stine will file a motion to suppress evidence, which may cause the prosecution to reduce or drop the charges against you.
- False allegation: If you were charged for trafficking Oxycodone or Roxicodone and you have a prescription for these drugs, our firm will work to have your case dismissed.
- Guilty pleas: When there is significant evidence against our client, such as in some cases of marijuana cultivation and grow houses, a guilty a plea may be the best option. Guilty pleas can often reduce or eliminate jail time.