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What Places A Case in Federal Jurisdiction

Local newspapers are reporting about a Florida man who was recently sentenced in one of the biggest prescription drug thefts in history. Known as El Gato, the defendant will reportedly spend more than six years behind bars in a federal prison. According to the Sun Sentinel, he confessed to his participation in a scheme that resulted in the theft of more than $80 million in pharmaceuticals.

As stated in court documents, El Gato and his accomplices pulled off a heist that sounds more like a blockbuster action movie than real life. They reportedly cut a hole in the roof of an Eli Lilly warehouse. Then they disabled the alarm system and loaded upwards of 40 pallets of drugs into their tractor trailer, using the company’s own forklift. It took four years before he was arrested for his part in the incident.

Federal Jurisdiction

This case fell under federal jurisdiction for a variety of reasons. A Florida resident, El Gato traveled to Connecticut in order to steal the pharmaceuticals. He then transported the cancer and mental health drugs across several states, back to Florida. While some of them were placed into a storage facility, many were bought and sold as street drugs. The sold substances reportedly included Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac and Gemzar.

In addition, Nunez is a Cuban immigrant. He reportedly came to the United States at the age of 27, with the dream of helping his family. In the months prior to this incident, his legal permanent resident status was revoked and he was scheduled for deportation, stemming from an unrelated criminal conviction. He was allowed released pending his deportation, but these new charges caused his rearrest before deportation occurred. According to the report, it will happen after he serves his sentence in federal prison.

What Makes a Crime Federal

A number of offenses fall under the jurisdiction of the state and federal government. In lesser serious matters, federal prosecutors generally defer to the states. While all charges are serious, the stakes increase with federal prosecution. Defendants face possible incarceration in a federal prison, and sentencing guidelines in federal court are notoriously harsher than those of most states. The rules and guidelines in federal court also differ from those in state courts, so it is imperative to secure the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in federal defense.

Numerous factors can place a criminal act into federal court, including:

  • A federal crime, such as
    • bank fraud
    • health care fraud
    • nan robbery
    • mail fraud
    • immigration crimes
    • drug trafficking
    • certain gun crimes

In addition, certain circumstances trigger a federal designation:

  • Cases involving the United States government
  • Cases where the crime took place in multiple states

If you or a loved one is facing charges in federal court, Miami attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.

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