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Florida governor wants to repeal drug trafficking law

Posted on February 09, 2011 3:00 AM EST

The governor of the State of Florida, Rick Scott, made public his desire to repeal the state law that was promulgated in an attempt to reduce the prescription drug trafficking problem facing the state, especially South Florida. Unlike marijuana and cocaine trafficking, trafficking in pills is a more recent phenomenon. South Florida and Miami criminal defense attorneys have seen an upswing in the number of prescription drug cases, such as Oxycodone trafficking, being prosecuted both in state and federal court. The state legislature recently enacted a law that was designed to reduce the prescription pill problem plaguing the state. Drug dealers and addicts from other state's flock to South Florida to obtain prescription pills because they are not regulated in Florida like other states.

The Florida legislature implemented an electronic monitoring program which would supposedly track prescription medications. Scott believes that the program will not be as effective as advocates proclaim and also is worried about the privacy rights of legitimate patients. Proponents of the new law claim that the program is the most effective method in curtailing the problem. They believe that Florida has the problem because they do not have a drug monitoring program or system like other states around the country. Despite the fact that there is enough funding for the program, many desire that the program never be implemented.

While possessing or dealing pills would seem to be less serious, the potential sentences under these cases are more severe than the penalties for marijuana or cocaine trafficking. Due to the addictive nature of pain killers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (more common names are Oxycodone, Vicodin and Percocet), the penalties for trafficking in these pills is commensurate with penalties for opium and heroine trafficking. Anyone caught with more than 4 grams, but less than 14 grams of these types of pills faces a 3 year minimum mandatory sentence. Anyone caught with between 14 and 28 grams of the controlled substance faces a 15 year sentence. Anyone caught with more than 28 grams faces a 25 year prison sentence. Based on the penalties, it is apparent how serious the legislature considers the trafficking of these pills to be.

The majority of these drug trafficking cases that are prosecuted by the state arise from transactions between those arrested and confidential informants (CI's) or undercover narcotics detectives (UC's). The majority of the transactions are set-ups which are tape and video recorded by law enforcement officers. With that in mind, street dealers should always bear in the mind the large number of CI's working the streets of Miami and South Florida. The majority of the CI's are out there setting up deals in an effort to prevent their arrest and prosecution or are trying to reduce their exposure when they are sentenced in court.

Scott Proposing Repeal of Florida Drug Trafficking Law, Miami Herald.com, February 8, 2011.
Categories: Drug Offenses