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Possession of a Controlled Substance, Drug Trafficking and Florida Pain Clinics

A 50-year-old man was arrested at Palm Beach International Airport this week after he allegedly tried going through security carrying hundreds of prescription pills he stole from his mother.

Steven C. Kerner, of Selden, N.Y., was arrested at the airport around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday on several charges, including trafficking in hydrocodone and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the airport and spoke with Kerner. He told deputies that he stole the medicine from his mother, a Lake Worth resident, who takes the pills for “severe” medical conditions, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Kerner said his mother was not aware that he took the pills from him and did not have a prescription for them. The bottles did not have labels on them, the affidavit says.

Inside the bottles were 263 oxycodone/acetaminophen pills, 60 hydrocodone pills, 371 acetaminophen/propoxyphene pills and 359 alprazolam pills. (source, full story)

In Florida, prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone claim an average of seven deaths every day – 2,555 people a year.

Florida has become the main source in America for prescription drugs diverted for illicit use. In 2009, for example, 98 of the top 100 oxycodone prescribers in the nation were in Florida. DEA evidence revealed that Florida prescribers wrote prescriptions for 19 million doses of oxycodone.

Tens of thousands of “patients” swarm into Florida from all across the South and Southeast, from as far north as Maine, and from as far west as Illinois and beyond, to visit “pill mills” and load up before heading home with hundreds, often thousands, of oxycodone, hydrocodone, OxyContin, Xanax and an alphabet soup of other dangerous and addictive drugs.

Florida’s “pain clinics” are nothing more than legalized drug peddlers, where drugs are exchanged for cash only, often many times what is charged in legitimate pharmacies.

Highway patrol and city police in a dozen states stopping cars for various infractions routinely find thousands of prescription narcotics obtained at Florida pill mills. These busts are carried as news items almost daily from all across the country, all reporting on seizures of huge caches of prescription narcotics that were obtained in Florida.

State lawmakers, public health officials and law enforcement personnel have been working around the clock for years to combat Florida’s prescription drug epidemic, and the prescription drug monitoring system was supposed to be a vital part of that battle (source).

Possession of a controlled substance, with that substance being a prescription drug, is typically a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine. A few prescription drugs make the list as only a misdemeanor offense, these drugs are known as “Schedule V” drugs (but arrests for these are rare). Depending upon the brand/manufacturer, certain oxycodone pills can add up to a trafficking offense carrying 3 years of mandatory prison and a mandatory $50,000 fine with as few as 7 pills. These pills have a street value of roughly $150-$200, so you’re not talking about a lot of money to catch a big case. The same sort of trafficking offense for cocaine would require $10,000 worth of cocaine, and pounds and pounds of marijuana.

There are numerous defenses to the charge of possession of a prescription drug. The important thing to consider is how law enforcement obtained the drugs. For example, was the search/seizure legal?

West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking Charges 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.

The law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., is involved in many high profile criminal cases throughout Florida. One of our cases involved a doctor charged with racketeering and administering Oxycodone, Methodone and Roxicodone unlawfully. By being proactive, we can often resolve these cases in our clients’ favor.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.

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