Florida is a common point of entry for drugs making their way up the East Coast and across the United States. Because of this, Florida has an extensive network of drug enforcement officers that often work together to capture those involved in drug trafficking. These officers often form task forces, one of which, Operation Sooner or Later, caught a Mexican resident who was running large amounts of drugs through the state. The resultant arrest has led to a plea deal and an extensive prison sentence.
The incident leading to the arrest of the trafficker took place in April 2010, when members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force seized 9.5 kilograms of cocaine that was somehow traced back to the defendant. A search of his property revealed a vehicle that was used to hide cocaine on smuggling runs and a notebook detailing monthly drug shipments. According to the notebook, approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine was used to supply a drug distribution network that included Jacksonville, Marion County, and Putnam County.
The accused drug trafficker pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute charge on March 6, 2012. On Oct. 19, 2012, he was sentenced to 40 years in a federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit his Florida home and his modified vehicle as both were used in the conspiracy.
Florida residents arrested on drug trafficking charges should be aware that many offenses are punished with mandatory minimums, both in jail times and in fines. There are forfeiture laws that can apply with certain convictions as well, taking homes, vehicles and any other items that the court feels facilitated in the commission of the drug crime. Residents have a right to fight back against the charges however, using a variety of defense options.
Source: Examiner, "Mexican drug trafficker sentenced in Florida on cocaine charges," Gailann Jarocki, Oct.24, 2012