According the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intellegence Center (NDIC), South Florida was designated as a
High Intensity Drug Trafficing Area (HIDTA). In the September 2011 Drug Market Analysis, key issues identified in the
South Florida HIDTA region include the following:
• Widespread controlled prescription drugs (CPD) diversion and abuse, particularly of opioid pain relievers, are significant drug threats to the South Florida HIDTA region because of the overall negative societal effects of CPDs. 1
• CPD distributors and abusers in the South Florida HIDTA region are acquiring prescription drugs with relative ease through numerous rogue pain management clinics (commonly referred to as pill mills) operating in Florida.2 This contributes to widespread availability of the drugs throughout the region and in much of the eastern United States. 3
• Despite indicators suggesting declining levels of abuse in some areas, cocaine remains a serious drug threat to the South Florida HIDTA region—cocaine availability remained stable from 2009 through early 2011. 4
• Marijuana is widely available in the South Florida HIDTA region, fueled by indoor cannabis cultivation operations conducted by Cuban drug trafficking organizations (DTOs)a, 5 and various other criminal groups and local independent producers. 6
• The South Florida HIDTA region is a significant money laundering center for illicit drug proceeds. DTOs in the region are increasingly exploiting the black market Venezuelan Bolivar Exchange (VBE) to launder drug proceeds. 7
Over the last three years, the South Florida HIDTA has seized an average of $713 million worth of illicit drugs per year from regional and international drug trafficking organizations. Drugs seized include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Ecstasy, methamphetamine and all types of diverted pharmaceutical medications.
The South Florida regional drug threats are endemic, persistent threats sufficient in magnitude and scope to warrant priority national level interest.
This region is an established international gateway to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Latin America and Mexico. These areas represent the primary transit zones and sources of supply of all illicit drugs to include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Ecstasy and methamphetamine. The criminal drug trafficking operating in South Florida are international in composition with a highly diverse base. They supply the United States demand, much of which transits this gateway enroute to other drug markets in the east and central United States.
South Florida is the 7th largest metropolitan area of the United States and one of the primary access points into the United States for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Additionally, diverted pharmaceutical medications are illegally distributed in this region and also to other drug market areas in the United States. The local pain management clinics and the Internet are key elements of this illicit supply of drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, anabolic steroids and a host of all other prescribed medications.
South Florida is also a major domestic producer of indoor-grown, hydroponic marijuana. It is a regional producer that has continued to expand its production and distribution from local markets to other Florida metropolitan areas and even to other states. Consequently Florida has become the second largest national producer of indoor, hydroponic marijuana and is second only to California.
Due to the emergence of diverted pharmaceuticals, or prescription drugs, today local, state and federal agencies consider this a major threat category comparable to cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
In Florida, drug offenses or drug charges cover a broad range of offenses, from the less severe, like simple possession of a small amount of certain drugs, to the more serious, such as drug trafficking, participation in an ongoing drug-related criminal enterprise or manufacturing and distributing drugs.
Whether a person accused of a drug-related offense is prosecuted in the federal or Florida state criminal system depends on what laws were violated and the policies and procedures of each court system. Most federal and state prosecutors divide up criminal charges based on availability of resources, which statute most closely fits the criminal conduct, available punishment in each system, and each system's policy considerations.
In 1970, the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, codified federal drug law into a uniform system. The Act classifies drugs into five categories, listed in schedules, and establishes regulatory requirements and penalties for the misuse of the drugs on each schedule.
The most severe legal restrictions and penalties involve Schedule I and II drugs, including heroin, LSD, mescaline, marijuana, peyote, opium, cocaine, methadone, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
Drug offenses, such as drug trafficking, carry harsh penalties, particularly under the federal law. The federal sentencing guidelines may be summarized as follow: the higher the offense level, the harsher the sentence. The base offense level under the federal guidelines differs for different drugs and for different amounts of the same drug. It is essential for an accused to be represented by attorneys who have experience navigating these sentencing issues.
Sentencing guidelines are constantly being revamped. For current information on drug-related penalties, go to http://www.dea.gov/pubs/csa.asp.
Drug trafficking is the illegal transportation and distribution of drugs into or within the United States. Click here for penalties for drug trafficking.
The Florida police may legitimately search persons and property, and seize both persons and property, either with or without a warrant if the circumstances justify their actions. If they act without probable cause, however, or exceed constitutional limitations on their actions, both searches and seizures may be deemed invalid and any resulting evidence may be tainted and thus inadmissible. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime and have questions about whether the police may have violated your search and seizure rights, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at Joffe Law now.
The Fifth Amendment mandates that charges for all capital and "infamous" crimes be brought by an indictment returned by a grand jury. A grand jury determines whether enough evidence exists to bring drug charges against one or more individuals, but they can also refuse to indict someone if they do not believe there is sufficient evidence to charge him or her with a crime.
Although criminal defense attorneys are not present in the grand jury room, they still serve the essential role of advising both witnesses and those persons whose actions are the subject of the grand jury proceedings.
Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public. The person charged does not have the right to attend the proceeding or to present evidence. Grand jurors and witnesses are sworn not to reveal what happened in the proceedings. A witness in a grand jury proceeding is not entitled to have his or her attorney present in the grand jury room while testifying. However, the attorney may wait outside the room and the witness may ask to leave the grand jury room to consult with his or her attorney.
To learn more about the functions of grand juries go to http://www.abanet.org/media/faqjury.asp.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony drug crime your first call must be to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact David Joffe at 954.723.0007 immediately or fill in the instant message form on the top right of this page.
1. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Tactical Diversion Squad, interview by National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) intelligence analyst (IA), April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC Request for Information (RFI), April 19, 2011; Broward County Sheriff’s Department, Strategic Investigations Division, interview by NDIC IA, April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC RFI, April 18, 2011; South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), response to NDIC RFI, June 3, 2011.
2. DEA, Tactical Diversion Squad, interview by NDIC IA, April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC RFI, April 19, 2011; Broward County Sheriff’s Department, Strategic Investigations Division, interview by NDIC IA, April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC RFI, April 18, 2011.
3. DEA, Tactical Diversion Squad, interview by NDIC IA, April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC RFI, April 19, 2011; Broward County Sheriff’s Department, Strategic Investigations Division, interview by NDIC IA, April 7, 2011, and response to NDIC RFI, April 18, 2011.
4. DEA, Miami Division, interview by NDIC IA, April 6, 2011; U.S. Attorneys Office, Southern District of Florida, interview by NDIC IA, April 6, 2011; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), interview by NDIC IA, April 6, 2011.
5. South Florida HIDTA, response to NDIC RFI, June 3, 2011, and interview by NDIC supervisory intelligence analyst (SIA), June 6, 2011.
6. South Florida HIDTA, Drug Trafficking Task Force, interview by NDIC IA, April 5, 2011; South Florida HIDTA, response to NDIC RFI, June 3, 2011, and interview by NDIC SIA, June 6, 2011.
7. U.S. Attorneys Office, Southern District of Florida, response to NDIC RFI, May 16, 2011.
Joffe Law, PA
Miami Criminal Attorney
Representative case results include:
Latest Verdict: Woman in Sebring, FL facing 20 years sentence on first degree felony, theft over $100,000 for her alleged complicity in diverting over $1,000,000 in assets from medical office. Mr. Joffe convinced prosecutor to use client as cooperating witness and and not charge her with offense that exposed her to 20 years state prison.
Trial attorney David Joffe is granted an acquittal for his client who was facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted in a federal drug importation case
As a result of masterful cross examination of six (6) key witnesses at trial, Mr. Joffe’s motion was granted to acquit his client of all charges in a federal drug importation case. The case involved 26 kilograms of cocaine and 5 kilograms of heroin. The Judge, a former prosecutor has not granted such a request in more than twenty (20) years of service on the bench. Mr. Joffe received positive written comments from more than twenty (20) peer attorneys.
David J. Joffe obtains not guilty jury verdict in federal drug case in forty (40) minutes after one (1) day trial. Client acquitted of 10 year mandatory jail sentence.
Defendant was convicted of two counts. The law firm again represented defendant on the direct appeal to the United States Court of Appeals in and for the Eleventh Circuit. The law firm was successful in having one count vacated and defendant was remanded for re-sentencing before the District Court. The Court sentenced defendant to non-reporting probation.
State Attorney dismissed marijuana possession case after reading one motion detailing improper search and seizure.
Male Charged with Mortgage Fraud Gets No Prison Time
Miami: 29 defendants charged in drug importation and credit card scheme and only ONE goes free! His attorney was David J Joffe!
20 year old female Gets Reduced Sentence for Drug Charge
Charges Dismissed on Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer
Ex-banker not charged with theft of goods through interstate commerce
Florida criminal defense lawyer, David J. Joffe successfully reduces sentence of Colombian crew men on freighter with two tons of cocaine