TSA Catches Man with 22 Pounds of Meth at Orlando Airport
In late January, Orlando International Airport (MCO) TSA officials caught a California man trying to board a plane with 22 pounds of crystal meth. A TSA agent conducted a random search of his bag at the gate. Police charged the man with trafficking of amphetamines over 200 grams, making it one of the largest drug busts at MCO.
The man said he received the bag from an exchange at the Los Angeles International Airport and was flying to Louisville, Kentucky. He later told investigators that he did this at least three other times.
State prosecutors take drug trafficking charges very seriously and will present an aggressive case. When you’re facing these charges in Central Florida, you must reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney. You need an attorney who can deliver an equally aggressive case to prove your innocence. The attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are Orlando’s top choice for legal representation.
Why Are Airports Common for Drug Trafficking Crimes?
Airports are common transit and pass-off points for drug trafficking because of how many people go through security gates every day. In addition, they trade off bags in bathrooms where cameras are not present. This allows drug smugglers to go through the airport without raising suspicion to themselves.
What Is Drug Trafficking in Florida?
Drug trafficking is a broad term in Florida, but in general, it is the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation of drugs. This means that even if you have no intent to sell, you might still be charged with drug trafficking.
Florida Drug Trafficking Penalties
Drug trafficking of any type carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence ranging from three to 25 years. Fines are also high, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. According to Statute 893.135, the man at the airport would receive a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Judges are required to follow minimum sentencing guidelines. They can only reduce penalties if the individual is under 21 or if the defendant provides substantial evidence against their supplier or other individuals.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges
A drug trafficking conviction can lead to major consequences, so it’s vital to seek legal counsel immediately. After reviewing your case, your attorney might be able to use one of the following defenses.
Motion to Throw Out Illegally Obtained Evidence
Your attorney might be able to argue that police officers did not have probable cause to search your bag or vehicle. The attorney may also argue that they conducted the search based on your race.
Lack of Knowledge
Prosecutors must prove that you knew the drugs were in your possession when it was found. For example, if you were at an airport, you may have accidentally picked up the wrong bag after TSA screening, which had drugs inside.
Entrapment means the government or police coerced you to participate in the crime. In this defense, your attorney must also prove that you would not engage in this activity had you not been persuaded.
Drug smugglers take advantage of innocent people all the time. Unfortunately, you could have been one of these people. Your attorney might be able to argue that you were a victim to dismiss the case.
Protect Your Future Today by Partnering with a Skilled Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re charged with drug trafficking in Florida, you must act quickly. Minimum sentences can lead to years in prison and large fines. These cases are complex and must be examined by an experienced attorney to create the most successful defense strategy.
The drug trafficking attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience and understand the tactics prosecutors use to convict you. Call our office or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation.