Massive drug sweep in Lee County

Aiken and O’Halloran SW Fla Criminal Defense – Drug Trafficking Lawyers- Offices: Sarasota 941-366-3506 Lee and Collier County 239-334-8890

The State Attorney’s office, the Lee County Sheriff’s office and the Ft. Myers Police Department just announced numerous drug trafficking arrests culminating weeks and months of investigation.  In addition to making arrests lots of cash, vehicles and drugs were seized.

     Trafficking carries huge penalties and many of those arrested are looking at long minimum mandatory sentences in State Prison (15 years).  This is not your typical drug bust but instead a part of a concerted multi agency investigation.  This time the police are playing for keeps.

     Many people are struggling to make bail, but bail is the smallest of their problems.  Sadly, many times people who get arrested for trafficking in Cocaine or fentanyl spend all of their money on bond and are then stuck with the Public Defender facing long prison sentences.

     Many times, there is a valid defense.  The police may have entrapped someone in a sting.  Some people only “middle” a deal hooking the undercover cop up with a supplier and now find themselves charged with trafficking or conspiracy.  It is unknown if any of the people arrested are going to be facing Federal Charges.  That is always a possibility. 

    As criminal defense attorneys in Lee County, and as Fort Myers drug trafficking lawyers, we understand the uphill battle you are facing.  We have been defending drug trafficking cases for decades.  As former State and Federal prosecutors we understand how the detectives work these cases.  We understand the strengths and the weaknesses of these types of drug prosecutions.  Good results are no accident.  It takes hard legal work, knowing the law, understanding police tactics, understanding the little legal technicalities that can make a difference.  You may have been the victim of an illegal search.  The police may have tricked you into confessing.  They may have you confused with someone else.  The drugs they found in the house may not have been yours.

No ethical lawyer can ever guarantee you that you will win.  Some lawyers may tell you what you want to hear just to get hired.  We will be honest with you and let you know what you are up against.  Our job is to help you make the right decisions from this point forward.  A bad decision got you into this and hiring the wrong lawyer may make it worse.

It costs nothing for free consultation.  When your life and future is at stake, you need a criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience actually defending criminal cases.  If you talk to a lawyer, ask him or her “how many cases have you actually tried as a defense lawyer”.  Many criminal defense lawyers talk about their experience as a prosecutor but there is a world of difference between prosecuting and defending a case.

Be careful if you are “shopping lawyers”.  Many people think only about the fee.  The most important thing is experience.  Ask yourself this “would I want to jump out of a plane with the cheapest parachute”?   “Do I want to buy the cheapest life raft”.

There is an old saying…”you get what you pay for”.  Check out the lawyers actual track record and experience.  Do your homework on the lawyer’s background.

If you have a husband, wife, brother, sister or some other relative in jail facing Drug trafficking, Drug distribution, arrested for trafficking fentanyl or under investigation for felony drug trafficking, or possession of illegal drugs and want an honest opinion give us a call.  The initial consultation is free.

Never rely on advertising in hiring a lawyer. Meet with the lawyer and ask yourself…

Is this the person I want standing beside he in my darkest hour in a courtroom?


Southwest Florida law enforcement and state agencies announce major drug arrests

‘We will come after you’: Multi-agency sting nets 41 drug arrests in 36 hours in SWFL

41 arrested, over $600K in illegal drugs seized in multi-agency drug sting

Sarasota Cocaine Arrests on increase

Peter D Aiken Sarasota and Manatee Federal and State Criminal Defense Attorney 941 366 3506

February 11 2020

Here in Sarasota and Manatee County arrests for possession and sale of cocaine seem to be on the rise.  That could be because there is more cocaine in town or because of increased law enforcement efforts.  When the quantity exceeds certain amounts, the State will file trafficking in cocaine which jacks up the penalties.  Another technique the police use is to try and get someone to sell cocaine within a thousand feet of a school also to increase the sentence.  If they are successful in making a “buy”, they will also go back to the seller over and over to run up the charges and increase the sentencing guidelines.  If they can make a cocaine bust and get cocaine and guns to together, sometimes they file armed trafficking, again to run up the penalties

With the new technology, police can install surveillance cameras in high crime areas that can go un-noticed for months to watch for “street dealers” and unusual activity between cars and people walking up to cars.  The most common cocaine arrest is for possession and this generally occurs when the police find cocaine on a person they are arresting for something else.  A person may get arrested for DUI or arrested for driving on a suspended license, and when they go to tow the vehicle and inventory the car, they often find drugs.  As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, I have had cases where a woman gets arrested for a small quantity of cocaine found in her purse she has totally forgotten about.  It may have been there from partying weeks or months before.  You know how cluttered women’s purse can be.  The same goes for men.  It may be in a jacket or pants pocket, totally forgotten from months before.  As a Sarasota defense lawyer, I have had cases where a relative or friend borrows a car, a coat or piece of clothing only to get arrested for something they had no idea was in their possession.

What is “Possession’?  You can have actual possession where the drug is on you, and you can get charged with “constructive possession”, when the police find cocaine, pot, or some other drug in an area under your control, such as a car or bedroom.

Do not assume that because you have been arrested you will be found guilty.  The car stop may have been illegal.  The search may have been illegal.  If there was more than one person in the car you may have a good defense.  Before you take drug court or some diversion program of probation, you really need to talk to a good criminal defense lawyer.

It may be weeks before a public defender actually has an office visit with you to discuss the specific facts of your case.  Sometimes “Diversion” or “Probation” can be a trap.  This is particularly true if you are a regular “user”.   Talking to a good criminal defense attorney may keep you from making a terrible mistake.

Suncoast news related article

Drug Dealers can face murder charges and stiff minimum sentences

Peter D Aiken – Aiken and O’Halloran – Experienced Criminal Defense Sarasota – 941-366-3506 –

Drug Dealers can face murder charges and stiff minimum sentences

Here in Sarasota and Manatee County the State is out to reduce the drug overdose rate by cracking down on anyone who sells fentanyl.   No legislator, and few prosecutors, understand how the fentanyl epidemic came about.  This all goes back to the pharmaceutical companies and the opiates their drug reps pushed for years and the doctors that prescribed Oxycontin and Oxycodone in excess.  Thousand of normal people got hooked on opiates.  When the legislature tried to stop that problem with the drug database law, no one anticipated the result. 

The implementation of the law cracking down on doctor shopping, and cutting off the supply of prescription opiates, left the people addicted nowhere to go but to the street level drug dealers to get a substitute, heroin.  As the police cracked down on the heroin supply, the dealers turned to Fentanyl, readily available from China and other Asian countries.

Fentanyl kills people and is much deadlier than heroin and there was a spike in deaths in Bradenton and Sarasota.  The underlying problem is addiction and the true answer is to treat drug addiction as a medical issue.  If you take the money out of it, there would be no drug dealers.  In the meantime, society continues to deal with this in the wrong way.

There are stiff minimum mandatory sentences for trafficking in Heroin and Fentanyl. But for every drug dealer sentenced to twenty years another one will take his place.  Over the years, as a Drug Offense criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota and Manatee, I have represented hundreds of people charged with trafficking, dealing and possession of Opiates like heroin, Fentanyl and other designer drugs.  Drug addiction is a medical issue and the Florida prison system is full of addicts who were selling and dealing to simply support their own habit. The laws need to change, but in the meantime, as a Sarasota and Manatee Criminal Defense Attorney handling Felony drug charges, I will continue to try and help people accused of dealing drugs.  For many, it is the only way they can support their habit.  The answer is a better intervention program where addicts get help not jail.  If you or a friend or relative find yourself in a bad legal situation as a result of drug dependency and what to talk, a free confidential consultation may help you find answers to your problem.  Jail is not the answer for addiction

How much of a prison sentence to you actually serve?

Aiken and O’Halloran of Sarasota Peter D. Aiken 941-366-3506

February 6 2020

How much of a prison sentence to you actually serve?

Currently, if you are sentenced to State prison, you will server 85 per cent of the sentence, less any time you spent in jail on the charges before conviction.  There is a move to reduce the amount of time to 65%, instead of the current 85%.  Sheriff Wells of Manatee County is leading the opposition to this proposed change involving what they call the “Truth in Sentencing” law.

As a State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida, In Florida, it is sometimes difficult to know what you are facing in actual prison time under the Florida sentencing guidelines.  In some instances the State can manipulate the guidelines and run your sentence up just by the way they word the charge.  For example, here in Sarasota, in child pornography cases, the State always charges 40 second degree felonies in an attempt to force the courts to impose what in actuality is a life sentence for just looking at pictures or videos.  In other cases, there is a minimum mandatory sentence that leaves the Court no choice in imposing sentence.  It takes a really good experienced criminal lawyer to give you a projection of how much time you will actually serve. As a Sarasota and Manatee criminal defense lawyer, I try and give clients a good estimate of the actual time…but it is just a projection that can change as the law changes.  Sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less.

It is also difficult to know how much time you will actually serve in County jail.  The most you can get in County jail is one year.  How much of that your actually serve varies from County to County.  It depends on the various “programs” in each individual county.  For example, you will serve more of your sentence in Manatee County than you will in Sarasota County.  It also makes a difference if you are sentenced in Federal Court.  As a former Federal prosecutor, I can tell you, generally the Federal time is “softer” than State prison.  The conditions are more civilized.  For example, if you end up in a Federal “Camp” you may do 85% of your sentence but be eligible for half way house as you get closer to the end of your sentence.  In the Federal system, if you get a “camp”, it is a lot like being in the military.  Most of the Federal “camps” are converted military bases and the conditions are way better than State prison.

As a State and Federal defense lawyer, I would rather have a client serve the sentence in Federal prison than in State prison.  Many of the criminal defense lawyers have little experience in Federal matters and not all criminal defense lawyers practice in both State and Federal Courts.  I recently had a client who was facing 8 years in State prison end up with 15 months in Federal “prison camp”.  That is a huge difference for the exact same conduct.  It makes a huge difference as to whether or not you are in the State or Federal system.

If you are under investigation and have not been charged yet, now, not later, is the time to hire a defense lawyer.  The lawyer may be able to get you prosecuted in a Court where you will do less time under better conditions.  This is particularly true when it comes to sex crimes like child pornography or Internet solicitation of a minor.  If a search warrant for kiddie porn has been executed on your house and you have not yet been arrested, you need to get the best lawyer who really knows the system immediately.  It may make a huge difference down the road.  If you are under investigation and want to have a confidential conversation about what your future may hold, give us a call

Oxycontin Lawsuit Settled in Oklahoma for 270 Million

The Oklahoma settlement against Purdue Pharmaceutical will have no impact here in Florida.  Did you know that only one in nine people addicted to an opiate gets treatment?  Here in Sarasota and Bradenton, we are still seeing people overdosing as a result of opiate addiction die needlessly.  In the meantime, companies like Purdue Pharmaceutical have made billions in obscene profits.  This is not just an issue of law enforcement, it is a health crisis.  The Florida legislature and law enforcement across the state still does not understand that this is a medical issue, not just a “crime” issue.  The real drug dealers are the huge pharmaceutical companies that started this nightmare.

It was short sighted to simply create a drug database and crack down on the pill mills without dealing with all the people already addicted to the opiates.  They simply switched to heroin and now Fentanyl.  There are no old drug addicts.  The all die.  If you have a loved one addicted to an opiate, they need help and intervention.  Unless and until the addiction problem is dealt with, law enforcement will never make a dent in the problem.  As long as there is demand, someone will provide a supply.

The addiction leads to collateral crime.  Addicts commit burglaries to support their habit. Addicts steal from their relatives and often pawn stolen items to support their habits.  The pawnshops make a small fortune profiting from addicts “dealing in stolen property”.  Addicts get charged with “defrauding a pawn broker” when the pawn shop operators know full well they are getting stolen property.  The bottom line is that we have to treat this as a medical issue and get people help.  As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer it is my opinion that probation for a drug addict without treatment is a trap and a slippery slope to State prison.

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and you are an addict, you need help not jail.  If you want to talk or discuss this issue feel free to call 941 366 3506

Peer to Peer sharing files are Dangerous

Peter D Aiken
Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced Criminal Defense
Experienced Sex crime Defense
Sarasota 941-366-3506

June 2018

Here in Sarasota there has been an explosion of child pornography investigations and arrests.

All of them involve peer to peer file sharing applications like Bit Torrent, U torrent and Shareaza.

I have suspected for months that local law enforcement is putting up links in adult porn sites encouraging people to download particular file sharing programs to view adult porn.
Most people do not know or understand how these programs work. If you download a file sharing program to your computer, it appears that law enforcement can come into your computer without your knowledge and extract files. This is because most of the peer to peer file sharing programs default to “share” and allow law enforcement to secretly access your computer. They can do this at the exact moment you are viewing something on your computer. No one should view child porn intentionally. The danger is that child porn files and videos are not necessarily identifiable until you click on the thumbnail or the file title. You can accidently view a child porn video by simply clicking on it to find out what it is. If at that moment, the exact time, you are out of curiosity trying to find out what it is, it is possible for the Sarasota Sheriff’s detective to download it from your computer and charge you with transmission of child pornography”, even though you neither intentionally viewed it or “transmitted” it. Even if you delete it once you find out what it is, it is too late. Once in your computer, a video is difficult if not impossible for a non-computer savvy person to completely delete short of wiping clean the entire hard drive.

Do not get charged with possession of child pornography by accidently accessing it.

The simple answer is “Do not use peer to peer (ptp) programs like Bit Torrent for anything. Peer to Peer file sharing is dangerous. Here is the real danger. Once someone can come into your computer, they can change your “settings” and plant something on your hard drive. In the perfect world, the police would never plant evidence. We do not live in a perfect world. All too often we hear about police planting guns on suspects or planting drugs.

The truth is, child pornography can be “planted”.

A jealous spouse, an ex- girlfriend or anyone who has access to your IP address or your computer can set you up and get you arrested for child pornography.
The Internet is a dangerous place and getting more dangerous with every day that passes.


About: Attorney Peter D. Aiken

Stay off of and

Peter D Aiken
Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced Criminal Defense
Experienced Sex crime Defense
Sarasota 941-366-3506

Click Here to view Credentials for Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney Peter D Aiken

May 24, 2018

Stay off of and

The latest Sarasota Internet Sex Sting is using phone applications like to lure unsuspecting men into compromising chat, texting and meetings with undercover detectives.

The police are also using to target gay men. No one should be hooking up with a minor and as a sex crime lawyer, I have always said, the best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. Sadly, in Sarasota and Manatee County, the sex stings have resulted in men with learning disabilities or autism being sucked into compromising situations. The police sometimes create crime. Many of the police departments get federal funds from ICAC and have to justify the funds with arrests. It is a lot easier for the police to simply create a crime interacting with a “mentally challenged” adult that to go out and actually detect real crime.

Often, it is the undercover chatters that are actually doing the soliciting.

For the police, it is all about making an arrest and they could care less if they are arresting a mentally disabled or mentally challenged adult. To them, an arrest is an arrest. Sadly, some of the prosecutors (many of them young) are clueless when it comes to mental disabilities. They simply tow the party line and go forward and try and put them in prison. The sad truth is the most of the real pedophiles are too smart to get caught in the stings and the police are scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to justify agency funding. The State attorney needs to have experts in mental health, particularly experts in the field of intellectual disability and autism, come in and educate the assistant state attorneys so that they will have a better understanding of people with mental disability. A very important part of justice is compassion. To some prosecutors it is more about winning than doing true justice. I personally think that every prosecutor should spend one night in jail as a part of their training. It is similar to the situation with the homeless people here in Sarasota. Maybe if each city commissioner would spend 24 hours homeless and penniless on the streets of Sarasota they would have a better understanding of the challenges faced.
The real truth about the injustice of the Internet Sex Stings needs to be told


For more information about sex crimes defense visit our website: CLICK HERE


Jail bait sex sting running in Sarasota

Peter D Aiken
Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced Criminal Defense
Experienced Sex crime Defense
Sarasota 941-366-3506

May 21 2018

Jail bait sex sting running in Sarasota

Hooking up with a minor will land you in State prison.

Is there a sex sting running right now in Sarasota?

It looks like there might be.

You would have thought that when Craigslist shut down Casual Encounters and when the guys that ran got arrested that the stings would slow down. The new law imposing criminal liability on the webpage operators should have taken a real bite out of the Sex Stings making it more difficult for the undercover chatters to entrap men. I am curious and willing to bet that the cops are now targeting the phone applications and the other social media sites like,, , or They are going to have to start trolling the regular legitimate dating sites with teaser profiles. If anyone ever even hints they are underage, immediately report it to law enforcement. Do not let curiosity get the best of you. There are no real 14 or 15 year old girls or boys that want to have sex with older men. They want guys their age. It is always a cop.

If anyone ever hints they are “inexperienced” or want to “learn about sex” immediately stop chatting and block them. They don’t call it jail bait for nothing. The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. There is no such thing an innocent talk with an underage minor. It is all bad. Do not do it.

As a sex sting lawyer, I run into guys all the time that let curiosity get the best of them. Do not fall for the bait. Do not do it. Over and over I see chats where the man asks “you are not a cop are you”. Typically, the undercover chatter replies “no, are you”. Police do not have to tell you they are the police. That is a myth. Sex with a 15 year old will get you up to 15 years in prison. It is not worth it. Walk away now.

For more information go to our sex crimes defense website: The Sex Offender Defender

How do I find the Best Lawyer is Sarasota?

Peter D Aiken
Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced Criminal Defense
Sarasota 941-366-3506

Click HERE to learn more about our Attorneys

The answer to that is simple. There is no such thing as “the best” lawyer.

There are many factors you have to consider in selecting an attorney. Unfortunately, when it comes to lawyers, there is no more competitive field of advertising. You cannot watch television for more than ten minutes without being subjected to egotistic lawyers whining about “get me justice” or touting their few successful verdicts. The Florida Bar tries to regulate lawyer advertising and no lawyer is supposed to claim he is the “best” or the “top” attorney in his field. Unfortunately, there are many lawyer referral services and advertising companies that walk a fine line when it comes to this type of promotion. When you see words like “super”, “the best” or “top” you really need to do your homework. Are they just “super” and the “best” at advertising

Selecting and attorney depends on your special needs. It is a lot like selecting a doctor. Not all doctors have the same qualifications or experience. You would not hire a dermatologist if you needed heart surgery. Not all lawyers are the same. For example, some engage in “general practice” taking all types of cases. Other lawyers, over the years, develop particular experience in particular types of cases. For example, defending a sex crime is different than defending a DUI. Defending a case involving tax fraud is different than defending a traffic ticket. The first thing you have to do is look for a lawyer that has real experience in the area you need. This means real experience in actually handling and trying those types of cases, not just experience in advertising. There are some lawyers who are fantastic at advertising and fantastic at making promises but seldom set foot in a courtroom and haven’t actually tried a criminal case in years. There are lawyers that claim to have offices everywhere and after they sign you up have some local guy actually show up.

What you need is the “best lawyer for you”. Research the type of case you have. Find out which lawyers handle that particular type of case. Research the attorney. Where did he go to law school? How long has he been actually representing people with your type of problem? Many criminal defense lawyers try and count their time as former prosecutors as experience in defending cases. Does the attorney have prior law enforcement experience? For example, if the attorney was a former FBI agent or Federal prosecutor, or former agent, he may have particular knowledge in a particular area. If you have a criminal case in Federal Court, having a former federal agent as you lawyer may be a huge advantage. Go meet with the lawyer. Sit across the desk from him. Ask yourself, “is this the person I want standing beside me in Court”? Do I have confidence in his skills and in his ability to represent me? Is he polite? You need a straight shooting lawyer who will give you an honest opinion of your actual chances of winning, not just tell you what you want to hear. If you have been arrested in Sarasota or arrested in Ft. Myers, your next decision is an important one. Hiring a lawyer is an incredibly important decision that should not be made on advertising alone.

Make an appointment and find out for yourself. Is this the lawyer for me? Bottom line, really look into the background of the lawyer.

Click HERE to learn more about our Attorneys

Attorneys: Peter D Aiken at 941-366-3506
Sean O’Halloran 239-334-8890
Robert Foley 239-984-4494

IN Ft Myers : 239-334-8890

IN Cape Coral: 239-984-4494

Punta Gorda 941-639-6009

Sarasota: 941-366-3506

Drug Arrests on the increase in the Suncoast Area From Bradenton to Ft. Myers Drug busts are up

Aiken O’Halloran & Foley
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys
Sarasota 941-366-3506
Ft Myers 239-334-8890
Cape Coral 239-984-4994
Punta Gorda 941-639-6009

There seems to be a peak in enforcement of the laws with respect to controlled substances. Car stop are on the increase. Undercover operations are on the rise, particularly with respect to opiates like Oxycontin and Oxycodone. All of the police agencies are targeting Fentanyl. Trafficking in Cocaine cases are surging and there is a major push in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda, Venice, Sarasota and Bradenton to crack down on the dealers. Everywhere drug busts are on the increase.
“How do I know you are not a cop”? “I asked him if he was the police” Don’t they have to tell the truth about being a cop”?……I hear this all the time. News Flash….They are undercover cops and they can lie. The police in an undercover capacity do not have to truthfully answer or tell you they are cops. Duhhhh! That is why they call them undercover cops.

They didn’t read me my rights….Isn’t that illegal? The truth is, they don’t have to read you your rights. If the police see you commit a crime or if you deal with them and they are in an undercover capacity, they don’t have to read you your rights, even after they arrest you. The only time they have to read you your rights is if they are going to question you. If they don’t, then what you say is not supposed to be used in Court. The State may have a perfectly good case and not need you to answer questions.

Most people arrested for drugs don’t know the law….That is why they hire lawyers

At our criminal defense firm we know the law. We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to defenses. Do not believe what you see on television lawyer shows. That is entertainment, not real life. If you have been busted for coke, heroin, fentanyl or weed and need a good experienced lawyer give us a call. The consultation is free.
We have offices in Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Sarasota. We also handle drug cases in Bradenton.


Sarasota: 941-366-3506

Fort Myers : 239-334-8890

​Charlotte: 941-639-6009

The Cape: 239-984-4994