Two 37-year-old St. George men have been recently charged in Tampa County with possession of marijuana and conspiracy with a third man to distribute the substance, in violation of federal law. The indictment was until recently sealed. In addition to the identities of the suspects, officials revealed that the conspiracy allegedly included at least 100 kilograms of marijuana.
Both defendants appeared in Washington County federal court on March 4 and pleaded not guilty to the drug charges. The U.S. Attorney asked that bail for one of the suspects be set at $130,000. Instead, the judge allowed the accused to be released in exchange for a promise to pay $50,000, cosigned by an unidentified third party. The other defendants requested a bail hearing, and they will remain in custody pending the hearing. The U.S. Attorney requested that they be escorted by federal marshals to Florida to stand trial.
The government also requested the forfeiture of an airplane located by officials, a large quantity of cash and any other items that were obtained as a result of the alleged charges. Federal law provides for forfeiture of items used in the commission of a crime, cash profits and items purchased with the proceeds.
Forfeiture can have a serious impact not only on criminal defendants, but also on their families. Items seized are forfeited and sold, and the money is given to the U.S. Treasury. The government does not consider whether the property in question was used by an innocent spouse or child rather than the defendant. Because of the serious impact that drug charges can have on a person, any person who faces forfeiture due to felony charges may benefit from speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who may be able to mitigate the harsh penalties accompanying such charges.
Source: The Spectrum, “Drug suspects appear in federal court,” Kevin Jenkins, March 4, 2013
Source: Title 21, United States Code, Section 881