Trafficking Fentanyl Charges Against Two Central Florida Men
January 30, 2023 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Drug Charges, News & Announcements Social Share
Getting caught in the possession of a controlled substance can have harsh consequences. However, the punishment becomes much more severe if the person is accused of trafficking the controlled substance. Trafficking implies the illegal transporting of controlled substances.
Two men in Central Florida have been arrested on drug trafficking charges after a man in Volusia County overdosed due to the potent substance. This article will provide case details along with information on both state and federal charges for trafficking fentanyl.
What was the Case?
Polk County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two individuals in relation to a fentanyl overdose that killed a Volusia County man. Brandon Jones, 23, and Joeffren Padilla III, 32, have been taken into custody and charged with trafficking fentanyl—an extremely serious offense in Florida.
According to the report, authorities found 52-year-old William G. Roe Park unresponsive. After taking him to the hospital, it was apparent that he had fentanyl in his system. Park later died from what was suspected as another overdose. His death opened an investigation into where the fentanyl was purchased from.
Polk County detectives discovered the drugs Park bought came from a dealer named BJ—which they identified as Brandon Jones. Over several months, undercover officials conducted purchases of illegal substances before serving a warrant to Jones’ house in Winter Haven.
Upon inspection, authorities found 0.25 pounds of fentanyl, which was valued at $17,000. They also found 120 grams of methamphetamine and a pound of marijuana. Jones was also traced to Padilla, which resulted in both of their arrests.
Jones was charged with five counts of trafficking fentanyl, possession, and trafficking methamphetamine and marijuana. Padilla was charged with trafficking fentanyl, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to appear. Jones had eight previous felonies and 10 previous misdemeanors. Padilla had 11 past felonies and nine misdemeanors.
“It’s no secret drug dealers are killing people in our community,” addressed Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “Through this investigation, we learned that Brandon Jones sold illegal drugs to a man who overdosed in Polk County, and then later, he overdosed again in Volusia County, where he died.”
Trafficking Controlled Substances in Florida
It is illegal to sell, distribute, or traffic any controlled substance in the state of Florida. According to Florida Statute Section 893.135, it is considered a felony in the first degree for any person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into the state, or who is in actual or constructive possession of 4 grams or more of the following:
- A fentanyl derivative
- A controlled substance analog; or
- A mixture of any of the above substances
Any person who is accused of having 4 grams or more of any of the above-listed substances can be charged with “trafficking in dangerous fentanyl or fentanyl analogues.” A first-degree felony has penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.
Depending on how much of the controlled substance is found in actual or constructive possession of the accused person, there may be mandatory minimum fines and terms of imprisonment. The following is a list of quantities of controlled substances in a trafficking charge and its relative mandatory minimum penalties:
- 4-14 grams – Mandatory fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for 7 years;
- 14-28 grams – Mandatory fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for 20 years;
- 28 grams or more – Mandatory fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for 25 years.
Federal Charges for Trafficking Fentanyl
In addition to facing criminal charges in Florida, a person accused of trafficking drugs may also face federal charges. Under federal law, Title 21, Section 841 states it is unlawful for any person to intentionally or knowingly manufacture, possess, distribute, or dispense with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance.
According to the DEA, the following is a list of federal trafficking penalties for fentanyl:
- 40-399 grams mixture – For a first-time offense, the person shall be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years of imprisonment, up to 40 years of imprisonment. If a serious injury or death resulted from the trafficking, then the person shall be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years of imprisonment, up to a term of life. For a second offense, the person shall be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment, up to a term of life. If a serious injury or death resulted from the trafficking, the person shall be sentenced to life imprisonment.
- 100 grams or more mixture – For a first-time offense, the person shall be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment, up to life imprisonment. If a serious injury or death resulted from the trafficking, the person shall be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years of imprisonment, up to life. For a second offense, a minimum of 20 years of imprisonment, up to life. If a serious injury or death resulted from the trafficking, the person shall be sentenced to life in prison.
In addition, the following is a list of data from 2018 on fentanyl trafficking offenses by the U.S. Sentencing Commission:
- 69,425 cases were reported to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2018
- 18,964 of these cases involved drug trafficking
- 3% of the drug trafficking cases involved fentanyl
- Since 2014, fentanyl trafficking offenders have increased by 4,711.1%
- The average sentence for fentanyl trafficking offenders received was 74 months
- 4% of fentanyl traffickers were sentenced to prison
- 6% were convicted of an offense that carried a mandatory minimum penalty, and 46.0% of those offenders were relieved of the mandatory minimum penalties
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
Getting accused of any type of drug charge in Florida should be taken very seriously. This is especially true when it comes to allegations of drug trafficking—which can have the harshest of penalties. Drug trafficking can result in both state and federal charges, so it is extremely important to reach out for legal guidance if you or a loved one have been accused of a drug trafficking crime.
Don Pumphrey and his attorneys have represented clients across Florida for various criminal offenses. We understand the stress one is under when navigating the legal world, and we promise to stand by your side throughout the entire process. Our drug trafficking defense attorneys will work with you to build a strong defense for your case. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today for a free consultation regarding your case at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.
Written by Karissa Key