Trafficking and Possession of Synthetic Drugs

In 2016, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill banning six new kinds of synthetic drugs. Part of a crackdown on synthetic drug trafficking, this law aims to strengthen and expand existing drug laws. It’s considered a third-degree felony to sell, possess, manufacture, distribute, or deliver these drugs. The trouble with synthetic drugs is that they can be tweaked and changed. If one kind is made illegal, a new version will pop up. This legislation aims to change that vicious cycle by focusing on the structure of the drug, rather than the name. Small changes in the chemistry of drugs are not enough to make the drug legal. If it can be proven that a synthetic version of a drug is substantially similar to another kind of illegal drug, you can be prosecuted accordingly. In the past decade, we have seen the rise of many kinds of synthetic drugs, such as “spice” (synthetic marijuana) and many kinds of synthetic heroin. Synthetic drugs can be more unstable and dangerous than their counterparts, and lead to thousands of overdoses every year.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime relating to synthetic drugs, contact a Tampa drug trafficking attorney to discuss your options.

Penalties for Possession and Trafficking in Synthetic Drugs

Some of the most common synthetic drugs are alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (PVP), also called “flakka”, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), also called “bath salts”. Fentanyl, a synthetic version of heroin that is many times stronger, is also a common drug with many different synthetic versions. These drugs are all considered either Schedule I or II drugs under Florida Statute 893.03. This means that they pose a danger to the public, a high potential for abuse, and have little or no known medical use. Possession of these kinds of synthetic drugs is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of $5,000.

Possession of fentanyl or a version of fentanyl is upgraded to trafficking when the amount is 4 grams or more. This is considered a first-degree felony. If the amount possessed is between 4-14 grams, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years, with associated fines of $50,000. If the amount is between 14-28 grams, the minimum mandatory sentence is 15 years, with associated fines of $100,000. If the amount 28 grams or more, the minimum mandatory sentence is 25 years, with associated fines of $500,000.

The punishments for trafficking in synthetic marijuana are equally harsh. If the amount is between 280-500 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years, with associated fines of $50,000. If the amount is between 500-1,000 grams, the minimum mandatory sentence is 7 years, with associated fines of $100,000. If the amount is between 1,000 grams – 30 kilograms, the minimum mandatory sentence is 15 years, with associated fines of $200,000. If the amount is more than 30 kilograms, the minimum mandatory sentence is 25 years, with associated fines of $750,000.

If you have been charged with a crime relating to synthetic drug trafficking, call a knowledgeable Tampa drug trafficking attorney.

For a complete list of penalties for synthetic drug trafficking, you may view the statute here.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation

If you or someone you know has been charged with possession or trafficking in synthetic drugs, contact a skilled Tampa drug trafficking attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. Call 813-444-3912 for a free consultation.

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