Are You Facing Fort Lauderdale Drug Trafficking Charges?
In Florida, people can be charged with drug trafficking when they possess opioid pills for which they don’t have prescriptions. Recently, a 25-year-old rapper, Kodak Black, was arrested and is facing Fort Lauderdale drug trafficking charges after a traffic stop. While the potential penalties for drug trafficking are severe, a competent and experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer at Hassett & Associates, P.A. can review the evidence to identify potential defenses that can be raised and might secure a favorable plea offer or the outright dismissal of the charges.
Kodak Black Facing Drug Trafficking Charges
On July 15, 2022, a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol reportedly pulled over rapper Kodak Black’s Dodge Durango around 4:30 p.m. for allegedly having windows that were tinted too dark. The trooper reported that the license plate tags and the 25-year-old’s license were also expired. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the troopers claimed they smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle and subsequently searched it. During the search, the troopers allegedly found $74,960 in cash and 31 oxycodone pills. Black was taken into custody and subsequently posted a bond of $75,000.
Kodak Black was born in Pompano Beach, Florida. Raised in the projects, he rose to fame as a rapper. He has had several platinum and multiplatinum singles and has sold more than 30 million copies. He has faced prior legal problems, including an arrest for trespassing on Jan. 1, 2022, and previously served a portion of a three-year sentence in federal prison for falsifying records to purchase weapons in Miami. However, former President Donald Trump commuted Black’s remaining sentence on his final day in office and praised Black’s charitable contributions.
Black was previously placed on probation in a South Carolina assault case and has had several arrests dating from 2015.
Oxycodone Trafficking in Florida
Under § 893.135(1)(c)(3), Fla. Stat. (2022), you can be charged with oxycodone trafficking if you possess, sell, purchase, or bring into Florida seven or more grams of oxycodone or a mixture containing oxycodone. This offense is punishable as a first-degree felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years and a fine of $50,000 if you possess between 7 and 14 grams. If you possess between 14 and 25 grams, the mandatory minimum prison sentence is seven years with a fine of $100,000. Possessing between 25 grams and 100 grams carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a $750,000 fine. Possessing between 100 grams to 30 kilograms of oxycodone carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years and a fine of $750,000.
You can be charged with oxycodone trafficking even if you never intended to sell the pills and only intended to use them for yourself if you have more than the threshold weight and do not have a valid prescription. However, attorney Kenneth Hassett might identify problems with the prosecution’s case and strongly defend against Fort Lauderdale drug trafficking charges.
The defenses that might be available will vary based on the facts of a case. In Kodak Black’s case, some of the defenses that might be raised include the following:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion for the stop if the window tint complied with state law
- Lack of probable cause to support the search
- Inaccurate weight to support the drug trafficking charges
- Having a valid prescription for oxycodone
- Having large amounts of cash due to success in the music industry and not due to drug sales
If the window tint measures below the state’s legal limit, the trooper’s given reason for the stop might be invalid. Similarly, a defense lawyer might argue that the trooper’s claim of smelling marijuana did not amount to the probable cause since no marijuana was found in the vehicle and there is no other indication of its presence. Prevailing on either a motion to suppress based on a lack of reasonable suspicion or a lack of probable cause would result in the suppression of all of the evidence collected as a result of the stop and search, which would result in a dismissal of the charges.
A defense lawyer might also argue that the rapper didn’t have enough pills by weight to meet the state’s threshold for oxycodone trafficking. Since each oxycodone tablet weighs 135 mg, 31 pills would have a total weight of slightly more than 4.1 grams, which is below what is required to support drug trafficking. In that type of defense, it could result in a dismissal of the trafficking charge, leaving Black to face drug possession charges alone.
Speak to Kenneth Hassett
Drug trafficking charges can lead to long prison sentences and substantial fines. If you or someone you know is facing similar legal issues, you should speak to Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Kenneth Hassett as soon as possible. Contact Hassett & Associates, P.A. today to schedule a consultation at (954) 791-3939.