For decades now, the so-called war on drugs has led to hundreds of thousands of people being imprisoned for drug violations. Jails and prisons across the country are overwhelmed by people convicted of a drug offense, whether that offense was drug trafficking or possession of marijuana.
A recent anti-drug operation has resulted in five arrests in Florida, as well as the issuance of arrest warrants for five more individuals. The arrests and warrants are the culmination of an investigation that took months, during which personnel of the DEA used wiretaps and confidential sources to gather information and evidence against the accused suspects.
All individuals have the right to a fair trial and the opportunity to defend themselves against criminal accusations. In some cases, people can have their charges dismissed or seek reduced or alternative sentences. Those who are convicted for drug possession, for example, can arguably be rehabilitated, often through some form of treatment or drug diversion program.
Thirteen people were reportedly taken into custody in Florida after an undercover operation reportedly resulted in the seizure of 40 pounds of methamphetamine. According to the report, the alleged bust occurred on March 18 and involved multiple Polk County agencies.
A Florida woman was charged with new felony drug charges when officials reportedly discovered multiple pills in her possession as she was being booked into the county jail. She was being taken into custody on March 5, after her bond was revoked in connection with previous drug charges. The defendant had been taken into custody in October 2013 on a felony drug possession charge. She was later released on a bond of $20,000.
The Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team raided a Florida home and took nine people into custody on Feb. 20 after neighbors complained about possible drug activity. The individuals, who ranged in age from 23 to 39 and included both men and women, faced a number of charges, including drug possession, the sale of crack cocaine and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony. Active arrest warrants were in place for at least three people, two of whom lived at the residence. Six additional people were detained after they attempted to buy drugs from the other parties.
A 23-year-old Florida man has received several drug charges following a traffic stop in Okeechobee. According to reports, the man was previously convicted of drug possession charges two times in 2012. The latest incident resulted in charges for felony trafficking in methamphetamine, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license. The man has been detained at Okeechobee County Jail on $103,000 bond.
A 28-year-old Florida man who had recently won tickets to see the finale of "Breaking Bad" has been accused of drug crimes. On Dec. 31, the man was taken into custody after authorities accused him of distributing synthetic marijuana, also called "Spice," on a large scale. The Lee County Sheriff's Office commented that the arrest would seriously limit the availability of "Spice" within the United States.
Taking to task police who did not check every bag of suspected cocaine in the possession of a 32-year-old Florida man, the Florida Supreme Court threw out the conviction of drug trafficking. The charges of drug trafficking will be lowered to drug possession after the court ruled 5-2 that the Jacksonville man could be tried only for possessing the bags that were tested and came back positive for cocaine. His drug trafficking conviction led to a 15-year prison sentence, but a drug possession conviction brings a maximum sentence of five years.
A 30-year-old Florida man faces multiple charges after being pulled over while riding his All Terrain Vehicle, or ATV. During the incident, a detective allegedly found him to be in possession of several illegal items. According to the detective's report, the man was found to be carrying a weapon, a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.