Trafficking in Illegal Drugs in Florida

Florida vigorously prosecutes individuals caught with trafficking amounts of drugs. And even though a person may not be a true "drug dealer" or is not high-up in a drug trafficking organization, the law requires the imposition of mandatory-minimum prison sentences.

Some of the most commonly charged crimes involving the illegal trafficking in drugs are:

If accused of Trafficking in Illegal Drugs in Florida, you need to know the:

In addition to facing harsh criminal penalties of fines, prison sentences, and lengthy probation, individuals involved in the drug trade may also be subject to civil penalties such as forfeiture of their home, vehicles, or money, that the government believes is linked to the drug trade.

Definition of Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking is defined as the intentional to sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation into Florida of a "trafficking amount" of drugs.

Trafficking Threshold Quantities

Below is the minimum threshold quantity needed to support a trafficking charge for Florida's most commonly encountered illegal drugs.

  • Cannabis: 25 pounds or 300 plants
  • Cocaine: 28 grams
  • GHB: 1 kilogram
  • Hydrocodone: 14 grams
  • Heroin: 4 grams
  • LSD: 1 gram
  • MDMA (Ecstasy): 10 grams
  • Oxycodone: 7 grams

These amounts are just the minimum amount needed to support a drug trafficking charge; as the amount increases, so does the potentially applicable minimum-mandatory sentence increase.

Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Drug Trafficking

Florida Statute 893.135 provides for the following mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines for trafficking in certain quantities of illegal drugs:

Trafficking in Cannabis: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
25 lbs. to 2,000 lbs.; or 300 to 2,000 cannabis plants 3 years prison and a $25,000 fine
2,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.; or 2,000 to 10,000 cannabis plants 7 years prison and a $50,000 fine
10,000 lbs. or more; or 10,000 or more cannabis plants 15 years prison and a $200,000 fine
Trafficking in Cocaine: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
Trafficking in GHB: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
1 kilogram or more, but less than 5 kilograms 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
5 kilograms or more, but less than 10 kilograms 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
10 kilograms or more 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
Trafficking in Heroin: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams 15 years prison and a $100,000 fine
28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 25 years prison and a $500,000 fine
10 kilograms or more Life in Prison and a $500,000 fine
Trafficking in Hydrocodone: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
28 grams or more, but less than 50 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
50 grams or more, but less than 200 grams 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 25 years prison and a $750,000 fine
Trafficking in LSD: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
1 gram or more, but less than 5 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
5 grams or more, but less than 7 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
7 grams or more 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
Trafficking in MDMA (Ecstasy) Mandatory Minimum Sentence
10 grams or more, but less than 200 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
400 grams or more 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
Trafficking in Methamphetamine: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
200 grams or more 15 years prison and a $250,000 fine
Trafficking in Oxycodone: Mandatory Minimum Sentence
7 grams or more, but less than 14 grams 3 years prison and a $50,000 fine
14 grams or more, but less than 25 grams 7 years prison and a $100,000 fine
25 grams or more, but less than 100 grams 15 years prison and a $500,000 fine
100 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms 25 years prison and a $750,000 fine

Defenses to Drug Trafficking

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, commonly raised drug trafficking defenses include:

Entrapment

Entrapment is occurs when an undercover law enforcement officer or confidential informant induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. If it is determined that you were entrapped, the court can dismiss the charges against you.

Illegal Search or Seizure

Often, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search when they otherwise would not be required to; coerce people into agreeing to a search; arrest people without probable cause; or obtain search warrants in bad faith.

If any of these can be proven through the filing of a Motion to Suppress, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States; which can lead to an outright dismissal of the case.

Substantial Assistance

While not technically a defense, Substantial Assistance is the most commonly utilized method to avoid the minimum-mandatory sentencing required for the crime of Trafficking in Cocaine.

The state attorney is authorized by statute to ask the court to reduce or suspend a sentence of any person who is convicted of drug trafficking when the person provides substantial assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of any other person engaged in trafficking in controlled substances.

This remedy is routinely offered pursuant to a "Substantial Assistance Contract" that requires you to "assist" law enforcement in arresting a specific amount of individuals involved in trafficking drugs within a limited period of time.

However, if you are unable to deliver the specified amount of people, you will be required to serve the applicable minimum-mandatory prison sentence; regardless of how hard you tried to "assist" law enforcement.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested for, or suspected of, Trafficking in Drugs, contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Hornsby for the criminal defense representation you deserve.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action to take.