MELBOURNE, FL (November 6, 2019) – Floridatoday.com writes that Melbourne police arrested three individuals for narcotics charges on November 1, 2019. The arrests came on the heels of an extensive sting operation directed at taking down suspected drug dealers in the area.
Reports indicate that the area around the University Food Mart on University Boulevard was flagged because of alleged drug sales and other possible criminal activity in that location. Officers were sent to observe the area and focus on arresting street-level drug dealers.
Last Friday, officers arrested three men suspected of dealing drugs at the location. A 36-year-old man is now facing charges for possession of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana and drug paraphernalia as well as for resisting arrest. A 33-year-old man is facing charges for possession of cocaine and heroin and for violating his probation. Finally, a 37-year-old man was charged with trespassing.
Last month the Melbourne police department’s sting operation led to nineteen arrests of suspected street-level drug dealers. Police carried out the operation because of the high volume of crime impacting the neighborhood, including complaints about drug deals, violence, and shootings in the area.
Drug Charges in Florida
In Florida, drugs are divided into schedules, which indicate the likelihood of the drug being abused, and any medical value the drug is believed to have. Drugs with the highest believed potential for abuse and the lowest medical value are categorized as Schedule I drugs. These drugs include heroin and LSD.
Schedule II drugs are those that also have a high level of abuse potential but also are considered to have some possible medical value. Drugs in the Schedule II category include cocaine and opium. Schedule III have lower abuse potential and accepted medical use. Steroids fall into Schedule III. Schedule IV have an even lower risk of abuse and accepted medical uses. And Schedule V are those with the lowest abuse potential and accepted medical uses.
The penalties for possession are based on the substance and where it falls in the five schedules, and on the amount of the illegal substance the suspect has in their possession. If the person has above a certain amount of a substance, the charges are upgraded from mere possession to trafficking. Trafficking charges carry far harsher sentences. A person does not need to have been caught actually selling a drug to face trafficking charges. Having a specified amount of the drug is enough for the charges to be upgraded.
In some cases, drug-related convictions carry mandatory minimum sentences. A person convicted of possession can face anything from a three-year sentence to life imprisonment depending on the substance and amount of the substance involved.
It is important to understand the charges and the possible defenses available. In addition to disputing the factual allegations, it may be possible to fight the circumstances of the arrest or to have the charges reduced.