Arrested During Operation Weeping Willow?
While drug charges are always serious in Florida, the presence of aggravating factors can greatly increase the potential penalties or result in federal prosecution. People who are charged with drug crimes should retain an experienced Vero Beach criminal lawyer as soon as possible after they have been charged. Attorney Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq. has decades of experience defending people facing serious drug charges. Recently, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrests of 16 people in a major enforcement action called Operation Weeping Willow.
Operation Weeping Willow Nets 16 Arrests
According to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department, 16 people have been arrested in a sweeping drug enforcement action the department called Operation Weeping Willow to combat drug distribution and trafficking in Vero Beach. The investigation resulted in numerous charges against the different defendants, ranging from misdemeanors to serious trafficking offenses and federal charges. According to the sheriff’s office, investigators believe that some of the defendants might also have been involved in other unsolved crimes. The law enforcement agency said that more arrests should be expected. While some of the individuals were charged earlier in the year, the sheriff’s office states that their offenses were still related to the operation.
The 16 people who have been arrested so far are facing a broad variety of charges ranging from simple possession of cocaine to drug trafficking of cocaine and methamphetamines. Multiple defendants are charged with unlawfully using two-way communication devices to facilitate drug sales and selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of schools or churches. One 34-year-old man is also facing federal charges of possessing opiate pain killers with intent to sell. While several of the defendants have been released on bond, many are being held in custody.
Drug Crimes in Florida
The state of Florida treats drug offenses seriously. People who are convicted of drug offenses face severe penalties. When a person is accused of participating in a conspiracy to distribute or traffic drugs, the penalties can be even more severe.
Being convicted of a trafficking offense can result in sentences of years in prison. If the drug allegations include transporting drugs over state lines or sales of large quantities, people might also face federal prosecution. Federal drug offenses can lead to even longer sentences of up to decades in prison, depending on the type and quantity of drugs.
Various types of controlled illegal and prescription drugs in Florida are classified under different schedules found in § 893.03, Fla. Stat. (2021). The various schedules classify drugs according to their potential for abuse and their potential medical benefits. Schedule I drugs are those that are deemed to have no medical benefit and a high potential for addiction and abuse. The penalties for possessing, selling, or trafficking schedule I or II drugs are the most severe.
Because of the potential for long prison sentences and substantial fines, people who are charged with drug offenses in Florida should retain an experienced Vero Beach criminal lawyer as soon as possible after they have been indicted or arrested and charged. Retaining an attorney early might help people to avoid making mistakes that could harm their ability to defend against their charges.
Talk to Vero Beach Criminal Lawyer Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq.
Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq. is a board-certified criminal lawyer with more than three decades of experience defending people against criminal charges in Florida. The combination of his legal skills and experience helps him to analyze cases and identify all of the potential defenses that might be available. If you have been arrested, or your loved one is facing drug charges, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq., & Associates, LLC today at (772) 489-8501 to request a consultation.