INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, FL (November 21, 2019) — A man from Vero Beach faces charges of trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of cocaine, along with possession near a school after an investigation conducted by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. The TCPalm reported that the man whom deputies arrested was previously deported from the United States.
Indian River County deputies raided the accused’s home located on the 1600 block of 19th Place in Vero Beach. Police secured a search warrant for the residence based on video from an undercover drug buy that showed the accused dealing methamphetamine from his kitchen. Upon searching the home, the investigators seized a 9mm handgun, 9mm ammunition, $7,000.00 in United States currency, sixteen grams of methamphetamine, 30 grams of cocaine, an electronic stun gun, and other drug paraphernalia.
Deputies questioned the suspect with the assistance of an interpreter. Through the interpreter, the man admitted that he possessed methamphetamine and cocaine. The arrestee admitted that he sold both methamphetamine and cocaine before. He also said that he bought the firearm from a friend of his. Police used a mapping program to determine that the man’s residence was approximately 750 feet away from Vero Beach High School’s Freshman Learning Center.
The arrestee faces charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is now held in jail on a $310,000.00 bond. Border Patrol agents participated in the raid and, as a result of his status as a previously deported individual, will face federal charges in addition to the state charges.
Methamphetamine Charges in Florida
Methamphetamine, also known as “Crystal Meth” or “Crank” is a Schedule II drug under Florida law. Trafficking in this highly addictive and destructive drug is risky behavior. A person convicted of trafficking methamphetamine with a gross weight of fourteen grams or more faces a minimum of three years in prison. The potential penalties become more severe as the weight increases.
Florida statutes §893.135(1)(f)(1) establishes graduated penalties depending on the weight of the drug. If the mixture of the drug weighs more than 28 grams but does not exceed 200 grams, then the minimum sentence must be seven years of incarceration. A mixture of methamphetamine of more than 200 grams requires the judge to impose a minimum 15-year prison sentence. The maximum sentence for any methamphetamine trafficking case is 30 years in a Florida state prison.
A conviction for trafficking in methamphetamine in Florida also carries collateral penalties. The state will suspend the person’s driver’s license for at least six months. Additionally, the person could face suspension of his or her professional or occupational license as well.
The government must prove the accused had possession of the meth to prove trafficking. Without proof of possession, then there can be no conviction. Additionally, the defense can attack the strength of the government’s case by trying to suppress the warrant because there was no information amounting to probable cause for a warrant to issue. Also, the defense could argue the police violated the defendant’s rights by not giving the Miranda warnings or attempting to coerce a confession.