Several Florida drug sting operations have come into effect over the past four years and researchers claim that the cocaine industry has suffered as a direct result of these efforts. Most recent stings include the Sarasota programs known as Operation Sarasota Cartel II and Operation Bad Apple along with Fort Lauderdale’s infamous Executive Airport Raid. With so many stings in such a short span of time, Fort Lauderdale drug lawyers could stand to question the DEA’s search and seizure tactics as part of a possible criminal defense. In the meantime, Florida officials claim to have uncovered millions in cash, cocaine, marijuana, prescription pills, weaponry and automobiles. Claims that neighborhood cocaine prices have skyrocketed due to these busts have also come into play. Below, you will find a detailed account of these Florida busts and the consequences alleged offenders could face upon conviction.
Operation Sarasota Cartel (One and Two)
This sting was initiated in 2010 when officials first suspected the presence of a state wide drug ring with a Sarasota home base. This particular sting focused in on a few key players, namely suspected kingpin Alex Gomez in 2014 and another suspected kingpin known as Jesus Guzman in 2010. The ongoing string of searches and seizures shows no signs of coming to an end. Approximately 20 arrests have been made in association with the program and suspects are facing 15 year prison terms.
Operation Bad Apple
A separate prescription based drug ring was said to have also found a home in the sunny Sarasota Beach area. Operation Bad Apple was a ten month program that led to 29 arrests. The focus of this particular sting was the fraudulent distribution of prescription drugs with a spotlight on Oxycodone. This sting has raised suspicions related to the possible corruption of the Florida pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Suspects are also facing approximately 15 years of imprisonment.
Executive Airport Raid
This Fort Lauderdale operation is centered on the suspicion of two brothers who own a company called World Jet which sends flights out from the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Authorities raided the airport on Monday, but delivered little more than some accusations supported by the fact that the two entrepreneurial brothers incurred drug related charges in the late 80’s. The sting was backed by search warrants and officials who were seen rifling through boxes said they were in desperate need of any evidence that could link the jet owners to a marijuana trafficking crime.
The Fourth Amendment
Whenever statewide stings come underway, the fourth amendment stands to protect the wrongly accused from suffering repercussions. Fort Lauderdale drug lawyers are aware of the fact that any unlawful search and seizure tactics are a violation of this amendment. Under the fourth amendment, an officer does not have the right to make an unsolicited search of property; however there are some notable exceptions to the rule. It is also important to mention that elements of the Patriot Act directly conflict with the rights described in the fourth amendment, adding to the complexity of search related charges.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.