According to a federal indictment recently unsealed, two men are facing charges for allegedly intending to distribute marijuana. The grand jury indictment was filed on April 3 with the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida Tampa Division and alleges that the two men worked with a group of people to distribute marijuana in Polk, Hillsborough and Sarasota counties as far back as August 2012. If the two men are convicted on the drug trafficking charges, they could face up to 40 years in prison, federal officials said.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Section commenced the investigation that led to the indictment and ultimately received help from the sheriff’s offices of Polk and Hillsborough counties, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration. One of the men indicted is 42 years old. The other man is 39 years old. Both are Florida residents.
Federal drug charges are extremely serious and may result in severe penalties, such as a long prison sentence and fines. There are several ways that a criminal defense attorney may approach a case involving federal drug charges. The first might be to find grounds to have the evidence suppressed in court. Evidence might be excluded if it was obtained illegally, usually by way of an unlawful search and seizure. Another reason for evidence to be kept out of court is an error in the chain of custody, which occurs when evidence is not properly documented, mislabeled or mixed up with other evidence.
If no errors or violations occurred, another option for defense lawyers is a plea bargain. Some defendants find this option attractive because it permits them to avoid a trial. A defense attorney is required to make the arrangements for a plea deal with the prosecutor. The judge will also have to agree to the deal.
Source: Herald Tribune , “Sarasota man faces federal drug charges“, April 11, 2014