Authorities Crack Down on Synthetic Drug Trafficking in Florida
Reports of drug trafficking usually elicit thoughts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. However, recent initiatives by state and federal lawmakers are shining light on the trafficking of less notorious manufactured substances. An article by the Dothan Eagle reported the bust of a Panama City resident for the alleged trafficking of spice which is a synthetic form of marijuana. The defendant was allegedly caught with more than 2 ounces of the drug. According to national news reports, the Drug Enforcement Administration, in collaboration with various state agencies throughout the country, is cracking down on the manufacturers and retailers of various synthetic drugs including spice and bath salts.
These substances have gained national attention in the last few years with reports of violent behaviors, serious illnesses and deaths. According to reports, federal agencies moved to make these drugs illegal in 2010. However, the manufacturers are reportedly able to continuously change the chemical makeup of the substances in order to avoid prosecution. These changes and ambiguities can create a situation where defendants were unaware of the illegality of substances they are carrying or allegedly trafficking.
What are these synthetic drugs?
- Bath Salts. Contrary to belief, these are not the same salts that are used to exfoliate the skin in bath water. These chemical drugs look like bath salts, but they are classified as stimulant drugs used as mood elevators and to increase energy. Bath salts are snorted through the nose or taken orally.
- Spice or K2. These are forms of synthetic marijuana. They are made up of herbs and other plants, but sprayed with man-made chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana usage. The product is generally smoked. These products are often sold in convenience stores as if they are incense.
Florida Trafficking Laws and Defenses
The Florida statute is no different than the federal statute in its convoluted description of synthetic drugs and their illegality. If one or more ingredients in the substance are listed as illegal under Florida law the entire substance is illegal. However, the constantly changing makeup of the substances may assist an attorney in presenting a viable defense to any charges.
In Florida, drug trafficking is defined as the transport of illegal narcotics including the manufacturing, circulation and sale of the products. These charges can apply even if the suspect does not physically handle any money in exchange for the product and a trafficking conviction may result in lengthy jail sentences. However, the ability of Florida law enforcement to convict for trafficking of synthetic drugs is questionable. While the state’s trafficking statute contains a list of prohibited chemical substances, as previously stated, if the synthetic drug does not contain any of the listed chemicals a trafficking charge may not hold up in court. That is why the toxicology report is so vital for synthetic drug trafficking charges. An experienced attorney can analyze the report in order to form a defense. If you or a loved one is facing Florida drug trafficking charges for a synthetic substance contact the Miami based firm of Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC at 305-600-3519 for a confidential and free consultation. With a strong commitment to every client we can provide you with the aggressive and comprehensive defense you need.