Substance and drug crimes are a major concern for Florida law enforcement. In Orlando and around the state there have been a number of major drug busts recently targeting heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The message is clear: possessing and distributing dangerous narcotics will put you in serious legal jeopardy.
Here are just some of the Florida drug arrests reported in just the past few weeks:
- On March 1, Lee County sheriff’s deputies “found over $1 million worth of marijuana” in the car of a 51-year-old man, who was arrested for drug trafficking.
- On March 11, Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrested two people as part of a larger operation that yielded nine arrests in Florida and New Hampshire. According to news reports, the two Orange County arrests were for possession of an unspecified narcotic drug.
- On March 16, an Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy smelled marijuana on a boat docked at a local beach. The deputy subsequently arrested two teenagers on the boat for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, which allegedly included a bong being held by one of the defendants.
- On March 21, St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputies [recovered 1.3 pounds of heroin] and other synthetic opioids from a residence in Fort Pierce, Florida. A 31-year-old man was charged with heroin trafficking.
- St. Lucie County law enforcement also arrested approximately 100 people as part of a “highway interdiction operation” near a recent music festival held in Okeechobee County. Police pulled over people, ostensibly for traffic violations, which was a pretext to look for evidence of drug activity.
- On March 22, Hollywood police raided two stores in a South Florida strip mall, where they arrested at least two people on charges of selling drugs.
Orlando Is a Prime Target for Drug Enforcement
Overall, about 130,000 people are arrested in Florida each year for drug-related crimes, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. Most of these arrests are for simple possession rather than drug trafficking. African-Americans are also charged in significantly higher numbers relative to their share of the general population.
Floridians are also at a greater risk of facing federal drug crimes charges than residents of many other states. According to the most recent National Drug Threat Assessment published by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Orlando and Miami are commonly used as “ports of arrival” for cocaine and heroin imported by criminal organizations from Colombia, Mexico, and other parts of Central America and the Caribbean. Of particular note, the DEA said there has been a recent “increase in drug-laden parcels from [Puerto Rico] to Orlando.
All of these should serve as a warning to anyone contemplating buying or using dangerous drugs. Unfortunately, many of these law enforcement operations end up ensnaring innocent people who have done nothing wrong. And even where there is evidence to support possible drug charges, police act in a manner that may be illegal or unconstitutional.
That is why if you are facing any type of state or federal drug charge, you have the right to speak to an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney. Call Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150 to discuss your case with us and how we can help.