2016…Feds targeting street level heroin and crack dealers in Manatee

20150617-074The DEA and ATF branches of the federal government have teamed up with the Sheriff in Manatee and started indicting street level heroin dealers. Although it is basically a crime normally enforced by local law enforcement, in the latest arrests it was run through the Federal system and the indictments were returned in Federal Court in Tampa. As a former Federal prosecutor I can tell you exactly why they are doing this. They want to get the benefit of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which jacks up the penalties a lot. The men charged were arrested based on low level street sales of grams of heroin and crack. This is not a case involving multi kilos of drugs like you normally see the Feds involved in. The other reason they use the Federal laws is because of the enhancement possibilities. If a person has a prior drug conviction and then gets charged in a new case federally, the penalties go through the roof. You could have a minor drug conviction from before, but if you then get a later federal drug charge, the penalties go sky high. If you have two prior drug charges, you can get life.
Sadly, many times the Federal charges involve minorities including blacks and Hispanics. I have always felt that a better approach to the drug problem is some form of legalization. Addicts are going to use until they can get real medical help. Drug addiction is a sickness that causes crime.
So many crimes are committed to get the money to buy drugs. If we legalized some of the drugs, at least there would not be the financial motive and some of the collateral crime could be eliminated. I suspect the Federal involvement and the crackdown is because of the out of control murder rate in Manatee. Defending crimes in Federal court is the big league. Not all criminal lawyers are experienced in defending federal cases and not all lawyers are admitted to practice in Federal Court. As a former federal agent and former federal prosecutor, I understand the system and why and how the Feds do things. If a loved one is under indictment or under investigation for a Federal crime, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation

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About time for another sex sting in Manatee and Sarasota

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It has been quiet on the sex sting front here in Sarasota. It is 2016 and there could be one running now in Pinellas County, but it is hard to tell. The Sheriff and the Clerk block the arrest information when the sex stings are running, and in Bradenton, the Manatee sheriff does not even let the people arrested make the required phone call. I checked the FDLE statistics and the sex stings seem to have peaked in 2014.  That does not mean they are not still running them, it is just that arrests seem to be down. Hopefully the police will put their resources more on prevention rather that entrapping otherwise lonely men looking to hook up with adults. As a sex crime lawyer, I have always advocated prevention. The police should be doing lectures in middle schools alerting kids to the dangers of the Internet. They should be giving lectures at PTA meetings giving parents advice on how to monitor what their kids are doing on the Internet.
In my experience (and I have handled 36 sex sting cases) the men that fall for the bait and switch tactics of the police are generally shy, introverted and unsophisticated. They are usually in adult dating or hookup sites looking for another adult. They get tempted by police posing as teenagers looking for experience. In reality, there are no young girls on the Internet looking for some older guy to teach them. That is all a ruse and if you see an ad or get a text suggesting that, it for sure is a cop. The police also pose as single parents looking for someone to teach their child about sex. That is ridiculous. No parent would do that. It is always an undercover police officer. The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime.
Never chat with a minor. Never travel any distance to meet a minor. Never text or talk dirty with a minor. It will get you arrested, prosecuted and land you in State prison. You do not want to become a registered sex offender for life. Do not let your loneliness get you in trouble with the law.

If you are reading this too late or have a loved one who has been arrested for traveling to meet a minor, solicitation or enticement of a minor or attempted lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation.

Related Articles involving 2016 Sex Sting:

More-than-dozen-arrested-in-online-sex-sting 01/25/2016

2016 Largo report on Internet sex sting

Related Video By Pinellas County Sheriff on Operation Wayfarer:

 

 

Child Abuse and Child Neglect Investigations

20150617-043Call Today 941-366-3506

DCF investigations have failed so many times in the past it seems that now they are going overboard the other way.

Medical providers and teachers now report even the slightest bruise, cut or scrape and before you know it, a DCF investigator may be at your house questioning your children. Children need to be protected from real child abuse, but on the other hand, parents need to be able to discipline their kids responsibly. I once had a case where a church deacon spanked his daughter with a belt. She had stolen money from a neighbor’s house and then lied about it. There were no injuries other that a little redness on her legs. DCF got involved and removed her from the home. He was a single dad, a religious man, and was doing his best to raise his daughter in a really tough neighborhood. DCF actually went to Court and had her placed with an “Auntie” who was a phone sex operator. The straight “A” daughter, after being removed from her structured home environment ended up struggling at school and pregnant within a year. DCF actually went to Court and had her placed with an “Auntie” who was a phone sex operator. The straight “A” daughter, after being removed from her structured home environment ended up struggling at school and pregnant within a year
DCF also gets involved where there are accusations of sex abuse by a parent, guardian or other family member. These investigations are incredibly one sided and can lead to criminal charges. I have defended many stepfathers falsely accused by teenage stepdaughters who resent the new “father” in the home. They want to break up the new relationship their mother has developed and know that an accusation of sexual battery or sexual abuse will immediately get the new father figure in their life removed. It seems that DCF investigators always believe the false accusations. Sadly some of the young teenage girls lie and a false accusation can destroy a man’s life. News bulletin….teenage girls are manipulative and sometimes lie to get what they want.

If DCF contacts you, call an experienced lawyer immediately.

In my experience I have found some of the investigators to be really heavy handed in the way they handle the investigations. There needs to be a balance between protecting the kids who really need protection and a witch hunt or false accusation that destroys the family unit.
If DCF refers the case to law enforcement and you are contacted by a detective, do not make a statement until you have had a chance to talk to a lawyer. Most lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation. You need to know your rights before you open your mouth. In the process of trying to “talk your way out of it” you may bury yourself in a later criminal prosecution.

I have been defending child sex crimes for over thirty years. If you are under investigation for child abuse, child endangerment or child neglect, before you say anything, give me a call to discuss things before talking. Call for a free consultation at 941 366 3506

New Laws on Gun Sales Coming in 2016

20150617-043Call Attorney Peter D Aiken Today 941-366-3506

Later this week the details will be rolling out on the executive order signed by Obama dealing with increased regulation of gun sales. One target is the gun show loophole. It is expected that the new regulations will even further define who must get a “Federal Firearm Dealers License”.
It is anticipated that private citizens selling their own guns at gun shows may have to register as a firearms “dealer” and people buying from them will have to undergo background checks. The new executive regulations are being attacked by the Republican presidential candidates. Nothing is more controversial in America than gun laws. On the one side it is argued that America leads the world in gun violence and gun deaths. It is one of the leading causes of death for men under thirty. On the other side, it is argued that additional regulation would not have stopped a single one of the mass shooting. As a criminal defense lawyer, I deal with gun crimes all the time. Most of the guns involved in gun crimes were obtained illegally in a burglary or theft and further regulation would do nothing. It seems to me that the potential for mass shootings only increases the need of the average citizen to be armed. Many of the shootings have been at soft targets where guns are not permitted and people are sitting ducks.
The real issue is a mental health one. The real issue in most of the big cities is drugs and money which breeds gun violence. The better answer is increased penalties for the use of a gun in a crime. Florida already has enhanced penalties for crimes involving guns. Those penalties are stiff already. What is needed if more enforcement of existing laws not more law. The proposed changes will do nothing to stop the gun crime epidemic. It may be a political band aid but will do nothing in the long run. I believe in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. I believe in self defense. Most of the time, in a crisis, you can’t wait for the police to get there. What the new law will actually produce is more regulation, more arrests of innocent citizens and more business for criminal lawyers like me. As a former Federal prosecutor and former Federal Agent, in my opinion, the new regulation misses the boat. Congress needs to step up and pass meaningful laws to curb gun violence. Our congress is dysfunctional and incapable of passing any law on any subject. At least Obama is doing something, although in my opinion it will not help.If you get arrested and charged with a gun crime and want to talk to a defense lawyer, give me a call at 941 366 3506