Federal authorities often work closely with other countries to prosecute the "war on drugs." As part of these efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Navy and other government offices have used a 1986 law to justify apprehending defendants in the territorial waters belonging to foreign countries. These defendants then face prosecution in the United States - often in Miami or other South Florida courts.
In a case that provides a good example of how far government agents can go before committing entrapment, a Miami police officer and firefighter received guilty verdicts in a cocaine trafficking case last week. The case took place in Miami federal court and could result in life sentences.
A federal judge recently sentenced a South Florida defendant to 120 months in prison. The defendant pled guilty to several charges, including conspiring with a corporation to resell diverted prescription drugs. Drug diversion is a federal crime that occurs when a defendant sells prescription pharmaceuticals outside of a lawful distribution method.
State and federal rules concerning the handling of evidence are a vital component of a legitimate criminal justice system. To be convicted of a drug crime based on tainted evidence is a nightmare no one should have to experience in the United States. Recent events in Massachusetts demonstrate how easily a single person can threaten the liberty of countless individuals through carelessness, neglect, and even deliberate mishandling.
International drug trafficking cases can be very complex and involve many different parties. Oftentimes, after large-scale investigations, federal prosecutors will bring extensive federal criminal charges against anyone who is suspected of being involved in a drug smuggling conspiracy.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not looked at the issue of eyewitness testimony since 1977 but it will consider the question of what the Constitution has to say about it again this November. This time, the court will be able to consider decades of social science research into the subject of the reliability of human memory and observation.
Prior to Wednesday, a defendant could be convicted of a drug offense even if he or she did not knowingly sell or distribute drugs in Florida. But thanks to a recent ruling by a Florida federal judge, this should no longer be the case.
Government officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the White House have identified Florida as the top source for prescription drug violations. As lawmakers work to place new restrictions on the prescription of painkillers, doctors and pain clinics are being targeted in federal criminal cases for their roles in distributing medication. It is not yet clear what the increased attention will mean to doctors who prescribe painkillers as part of a legitimate pain management regimen.
Law enforcement can be very aggressive in their pursuit of individuals suspected of federal drug crimes. This aggressiveness can continue long after an alleged crime occurred. This can be seen in the recent arrest of a 62-year-old Florida man who had allegedly been on the run ever since he was accused of crimes related to drug trafficking over 30 years ago.
Hearing a news story about a drug bust is not terribly unusual. However, it is somewhat strange to hear of a drug arrest involving Easter eggs. Such a drug trafficking arrest recently happened to a Florida man.