Huge Drug Bust in Bradenton in July 2016

Peter D Aiken Criminal Defense Attorney 941 366 3506
Peter D Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941 366 3506

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The Sheriff’s office in Bradenton announced the arrest of a drug suspect and the seizure of an enormous amount of cocaine, heroin and marijuana this week. The Sheriff’s office also said that a very large amount of cash was seized along with numerous vehicles. Cars can be taken and forfeited pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act if they are used in the commission of a crime. The police use this act as a mechanism to forfeit vehicles to their department to be later sold at auction. The police also use this act to seize and later sell cars used by “johns” in prostitution stings. The forfeitures are a lucrative source of money for the various police departments.

In the latest drug case in Manatee County, the police took over $400,000 in cash as well as 38 vehicles, 33 firearms and a bunch of dogs. The firearms can be the basis for additional charges like possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or armed trafficking. Both charges greatly increase a person’s exposure to additional jail time. It is unclear at this time if wiretaps or tracking devices were used although these are common police detection methods. The police can also try and forfeit the houses used in the alleged drug trafficking. All of this can amount to a huge windfall when it comes to money for the agency involved.

In the latest Manatee drug bust, various members of the same family were arrested and are now sitting in jail on high bonds. The courts also set conditions on posting bond requiring a “Nebia” hearing. This means that whoever posts bond has to show a legitimate source of collateral and bond premium. This makes it tough for an alleged dealer to bond out.
As a Manatee and Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, my prediction is that there will be more charges. If you have questions, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation

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Why not just plead guilty? Get it over with.

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Almost every day I hear that. People who are frustrated with the criminal justice system get discouraged and want to simply bring their case to an end. The wheels of justice turn slow, sometimes at a snail’s pace. This is particularly true if you cannot afford to hire your own lawyer and rely on the public defender or another court appointed lawyer. There are times when time is on your side and there are other times when it is in your best interest to move the case forward. A criminal charge is a lot like a bad tooth. You simply have to deal with it and putting it off sometimes can only make it worse.

There are however consequences to pleading guilty.

In a domestic violence case, simple battery for example, you can lose your right to possess or buy a gun for some years. You can end up having to take domestic violence counseling, be placed on reporting probation, pay Court fees and in many cases end up with a no contact order prohibiting you from living in your own house. Sadly, the system is abused often by women in divorce proceedings. They use a false allegation of domestic abuse to get possession of the home and the kids. It puts them in the driver’s seat and gives them a tremendous advantage in the civil proceeding. As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen judges here in Sarasota set bonds in misdemeanor cases as high as fifty thousand dollars. Bail bond are not supposed to be used to punish people and are simply a guarantee of appearance. Here in Sarasota, depending on the judge who handles your case at first appearance, you may find an outrageous bond set forcing you to pay thousands to a bondsman or sit in jail awaiting a bond reduction hearing. Many people plead guilty to simply avoid sitting in jail for weeks awaiting a trial.

This is wrong.

The public defender here in Sarasota runs a great office. His assistants are dedicated professionals. The problem is that the public defender’s office is understaffed, underpaid and over worked. Every day, more and more cases are assigned to each individual attorney. They handle literally hundreds of cases at a time where private lawyers may only handle dozens. A client may sit in jail for weeks before actually meeting with his court appointed lawyer. In the meantime, his job is lost, he falls behind on car payments, he may get evicted and suffer irreparable damage.

If you can find a way you should hire your own lawyer.

It really does make a difference.

Never plead guilty to anything you have not done to simply get out of jail.

Sometimes probation is a trap and you only find yourself rearrested at a later time.

If you need to discuss your situation, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation.

Addicts need help, not jail

20150617-143-Edit(1)Law enforcement for decades has been treating drug addiction as a crime. Our legislators just do not understand addiction. Drug addiction is a treatable condition and incarceration almost never solves the problem. When a person comes out of prison as a convicted felon, with no job, little opportunity and no money, most of the time, they return to using heroin, pills or cocaine. The system is not set up to help people. Law enforcement is a business. The prison system is a business. The more people that are arrested, the more those businesses thrive.
The heroin epidemic is a direct result of the police crackdown on opiates like Oxycontin, Oxydodone, Percocet and the other pills. They should have seen this coming. There were thousands of people addicted to pills. When the police cracked down on the pain management doctors and the pharmacies, what did they expect? Of course people turned to the easily available alternative, heroin. Now we have a heroin epidemic. No big surprise!

The answer is to address the fundamental problem of why people become addicted. How did they get addicted? What can we do to help them, not what can we do to put them in jail. Prosecuting the suppliers is an endless war that will never be won. There is a demand fueled by addiction. Someone will step up to fill that demand. Would we even have drug Cartels if the Government had gotten on the front end of this problem?

As a criminal defense lawyer here in Sarasota, I come into contact with addicts. I understand how easily they got addicted. Many addicts are normal people who had a car accident and got addicted by the treating doctors helping lawyers build up a personal injury file. Few people intentionally try to become an addict. It is not something they set out to do. Increased penalties is not the answer. More prisons is not the answer. The answer in intervention and treatment. People are dying every day from drug addiction. There is a new toxic pill on the market here in Sarasota that can instantly kill you. If you have a relative that is addicted to heroin or has been arrested for possession of heroin I may be able to help. These people need help, not prison. All inquiries are confidential.

Call if you want to talk. 941 366 3506

Heroin Epidemic was Predictable and Preventable in 2015

20150617-042-Edit(1)Call 941-366-3506

All across America, even here in affluent white Sarasota, heroin is cheap and available. Did you know that one of the leading causes of death of people under thirty five is drug overdose? In many States, drug overdose deaths exceed traffic and gun fatalities? Did you know that 80% of the people addicted to heroin were previously addicted to opiates like Oxycontin and Oxycodone? This epidemic started years ago when the drug manufacturers were pushing Oxycontin and Oxycodone. Thousands of people became addicted to the pills and as the pill mills flourished, heroin was not a big deal. When the law changed and the State wide data base was created for prescriptions, pills began to dry up. As the pills became more and more difficult to obtain, people switched to the cheaper and more readily alternative, heroin.
Now heroin overdose is a leading cause of death for young people. In both Sarasota and Bradenton, heroin arrests are up. Trafficking in heroin arrests continue to rise. The penalties for possession of heroin are harsh. It does not take much in terms of quantity to get charged with trafficking. An addict, buying or possessing a couple of days supply can easily get arrested for trafficking when is fact, they are a simple user.
As a criminal defense attorney handling drug crimes I understand addiction. What people need is help and treatment, not jail or prison. Addiction is an illness that causes crime. Most addicts eventually get charged with dealing in stolen property to support their habit. Many addicts get involved in burglaries, writing bad checks or stealing from relatives and employers, simply to support their addiction. Sadly, heroin addiction eventually leads to either prison or death. If a loved one has been arrested or a probation violation is in the works, I may be able to help. My goal is to help people and probation without treatment is a trap. Most addicts cannot make the tough choices and often it is up to relatives to help. If you have an addict in the family and want compassionate representation, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation.