FORT MYERS, Fla. (December 25, 2019) — The Fort Myers News-Press reported that Lee County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 28-year-old male and a 37-year-old female for numerous charges relating to drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm. The male also faces charges connected to an alleged parole violation as well. Deputies say they were searching for the male and found him in an Airbnb in Fort Myers. Deputies seized a significant amount of various controlled substances along with a firearm and ammunition. Deputies also arrested a third man found in the Airbnb for allegations that he violated parole.
Lee County deputies attached to the county’s Fugitive Warrants Unit possessed an arrest warrant for the 28-year-old man. Deputies located him at an Airbnb on Evans Avenue in Fort Myers. Investigators said that the residence was an apartment. The article did not say how the deputies were able to track the wanted man to that location.
Deputies approached the door to the Airbnb and knocked. The 37-year-old female came to the door and opened it slightly. The officers announced their presence and identity. At that time, the female slammed the apartment door on a deputy’s leg as he tried to prevent the woman from closing the door. The woman ran away from the door and deeper into the apartment.
The investigating deputies pursued her into the residence. Once inside, the deputies found the wanted man lying on the floor of a bedroom next to a bed. Deputies searched the immediate area where they found the man and seized a .45 caliber semi-automatic Taurus firearm. They also seized several rounds .45 caliber ammunition strewn about the room in plain view. The woman who answered the door retreated to that room as well. Deputies placed both in custody without incident.
The deputies applied for and received a search warrant authorizing them to search the Airbnb more thoroughly. They found fentanyl, meth, crack, 43 rounds of ammo, LSD, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription pulls in the residence. The deputies also sized items consistent with drug distribution. Consequently, the male and female will face drug trafficking charges as well as charges of possessing a firearm by a prohibited person.
Sentences for drug crimes in Florida depend upon the nature of the substance and the quantity of the substance. Chapter 893, Section 135 of the Florida Statutes delineates the proscribed penalties for drug trafficking. Under section 135, the possible sentences escalate as the weight of the drugs increase. For example, trafficking in four grams or more but less than 30 grams of an opioid, including heroin and fentanyl, is a first-degree felony.
First-degree felonies may be punished by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 years. However, Florida law imposes minimum-mandatory sentences in a graduated fashion for trafficking fentanyl. A conviction of trafficking in opioids between four and fourteen grams is a three-year minimum sentence. The minimum-mandatory sentence jumps to fifteen years if the weight of the opioids falls between fourteen and 28 grams. Finally, trafficking in opioids over 28 grams but less than 30 kilograms is a 25-year minimum-mandatory sentence.
The possible sentences for trafficking cocaine, marijuana, and other narcotics in Florida are less severe than those imposed for trafficking opioids. Notwithstanding, punishments for drug convictions in Florida are harsh.