Florida Man Gets 11 Years For Drug Possession, Weapons Crime
A Florida man has been sentenced to more than 11 years for possessing fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine in trafficking quantities and possessing a weapon in furtherance of a drug crime. The man was found with over 400 grams of fentanyl and 500 grams of methamphetamine. The sentence will run consecutive to a 7-year prison sentence on state drug charges. He was also required to surrender five guns and 177 rounds of ammunition. In 2018, he pleaded no contest to drug charges.
The man was a fugitive when he was found by police. He failed to appear for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty. He was later found at a hotel in possession of a weapon 15 grams of fentanyl, 14 grams of methamphetamine, and 57 grams of cocaine. He also had nearly $7,000 in cash.
Understanding the charges
There were likely three elements to this prosecution that made any defense very difficult for the defendant. Firstly, he had prior arrests for drug trafficking which force the federal courts to raise the stakes when it came to sentencing. Second, the quantity of drugs they found on him was quite large and obviously more than a single person could do in a week, so it was fairly obvious that he wasn’t just a really heavy user who was paranoid that someone was going to go after his stash.
While people make jokes about “club fed”, criminal prosecutions conducted by the federal government are no fun for defendants. Defendants often face enhanced sentencing with mandatory minimums attached to them. Judges have less discretion when sentencing because the federal government operates on a sentencing chart that tallies a point total based on the infraction’s severity. Defendants who find themselves with prior offenses, especially for the same crime, wind up facing a decade or more for non-violent crimes. While judges can occasionally deviate from the sentencing guidelines, they won’t throw a lifeline to recidivist offenders or those who disappear once it comes time to be sentenced.
In this case, the defendant was not able to raise a strong defense to the charges because even after he was sentenced, he was found as a fugitive with more guns and weapons in his possession.
Defenses to drug possession charges
Not all drug prosecutions are so cut and dried. In this case, the defendant was found with the drugs in a backpack that was in his vehicle. More drugs were later discovered at his primary residence. The case was investigated by both local authorities and the DEA meaning they likely had their eye on this individual for a while. In some cases, it becomes possible to exclude evidence that was illegally acquired. More drug prosecutions die on the vine due to procedural errors than any other reason. In this case, there was no way to exclude the evidence and hence the defendant was forced into a guilty plea.
Talk to a Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents defendants charged with federal crimes in the Tampa area. Call our Tampa criminal lawyers today to discuss your situation in more detail and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.