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Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > 11 Defendants Face Charges in 2 Separate Drug Trafficking Busts in Polk County, Florida

11 Defendants Face Charges in 2 Separate Drug Trafficking Busts in Polk County, Florida


11 Florida residents were arrested as part of two multi-agency investigations into two separate drug trafficking rings, according to Polk County sheriffs. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference detailing that the investigations resulted in the arrests of 10 men and 1 woman who were allegedly involved in trafficking multiple kilos of cocaine and fentanyl. Law enforcement announced that they seized a total of 14 kilos of cocaine and 3.5 kilos of bulk fentanyl and fentanyl pills. They also seized four firearms, a vehicle, and $12,985 in cash. Several agencies participated in the bust including federal agencies such as the DEA and FBI.

The first investigation called “Espinosa and Romero Central Florida Drug Trafficking Organization” resulted in the arrests of five men. Deputies allege that a 56-year-old suspect was believed to be involved in the trafficking of multiple kilos of cocaine. The suspect had a criminal history that involved robbery, cocaine trafficking, MDMA trafficking, and other federal narcotics violations. He was incarcerated for 80 months on these charges prior to his latest arrest.

Police say that they arranged to purchase a kilo of cocaine from the suspect in November. Deputies said that the suspect brought his drug supplier, a 44-year-old man from Kissimmee to the drug transaction. The investigation revealed that the suspect was operating a drug trafficking organization between the northeast U.S., South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico that trafficked kilos of cocaine and fentanyl.

The second investigation was called “Colon-Colon Drug Trafficking Organization” according to police. This operation resulted in the arrest of 5 men and 1 woman accused of trafficking in large amounts of cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin. Investigators set up a sting with undercover agents and purchased kilos of cocaine.

Drug trafficking charges 

Both state and federal laws cover the crime of drug trafficking. These laws impose separate sets of penalties and have different legal elements to prove a case. Federal drug trafficking charges are based on the intent to sell or distribute an illegal substance. In other words, to be charged at the federal level, federal authorities must prove intent to sell which goes beyond mere possession. The same does not hold true for Florida drug trafficking charges. In Florida, intent is not required to prove a charge of drug trafficking. Instead, if an individual possesses drugs in excess of certain amounts, the Florida courts can assume the intent to traffick (Florida Statutes 893.135).

Penalties for drug trafficking depend on the type of drug and the quantity of that drug. Both Florida state and federal law impose harsh mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of drug trafficking.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer Today 

The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of those who have been charged with drug trafficking in Florida. Call our Tampa criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense right away. Nicholas G. Matassini is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by The Florida Bar, the highest recognition of professionalism and trial experience in Florida.



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