A police officer was recently arrested in a neighboring Florida community for felony drug crimes. The police officer now faces drug charges, including trafficking in drugs, tampering with physical evidence, fleeing to elude police, possession of cocaine and two charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been on administration leave since this past April, while internal affairs conducted an investigation that was not concluded in his favor. There is also a second, active, internal affairs investigation now in process against the officer. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and other agencies, has been involved in the case.
Drug trafficking charges are serious drug offense charges and can lead to serious consequences for those convicted of the charges they face. Drug trafficking and drug distribution laws are a set of laws that create penalties for those that import, transport or sell illegal controlled substances, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, heroin and any other "club drugs." Both federal and state laws make drug trafficking a crime. Punishments usually depend on factors present in the crime, including drug type, amount of the drug, the geographic area in which the drug was distributed and whether or not minors were sold to or targeted in the distribution.
There are several types of defenses for those facing drug charges to consider. Some defenses challenge the facts, evidence or testimony of the case, such as a challenge, using a crime lab analysis, that the material alleged to be drugs is not drugs. The person charged with a drug crime may wish to challenge that the police still possess the material claimed to be an unlawful drug which occasioned the charges or that the drugs actually belonged to the person charged with drug possession. Other challenges and defenses concern the validity of the search and seizure that produced the alleged drugs. Sometimes a defendant can successfully argue that the drugs were planted or that the person charged was entrapped into the illegal activity (typically, however, the authorities must have provided the drug for an entrapment defense to be successful). Such defenses may also be a helpful tool in prompting the prosecutor to reduce the charges.
Drug charges carry with them serious lasting consequences if followed by a conviction. Defending against them (or attempting to reduce the charges), therefore, is a crucial step for someone facing drug charges.
Source: The Newport Richey Patch, "Police Officer Arrested on Drug Charges," Alex Tiegen, Jan. 18, 2013.