Sandra Avila Beltran, also known as the Queen of the Pacific, is accused the leader of Mexico's male-dominated drug trade and is the subject of a best-selling book and popular ballad. Mexican authorities said they were investigating a tip that she had received Botox treatments in prison. Beltran pled guilty in a Florida court to a charge connected to a cocaine trafficking case. She faces up to 15 years in U.S. prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact, according to an agreement filed in federal court.
The most common type of smuggling that occurs in Jacksonville cases are drug smuggling and distribution cases. Drug smuggling is a common criminal act that involves the illegal transportation of common substances such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, as well as prescription drugs like oxycontin and other controlled substances defined under Florida law. Florida is extremely attractive for drug smugglers, both intrastate and internationally, because of Florida’s coastal borders, the ease of interstate highway access, the large number of international ports that allow passengers to arrive from many countries via aircraft, and Florida’s extremely close range to other countries known for having drug operations in the United States, such as Mexico, Cuba, and Columbia.
There are a variety of penalties that may be assessed according to the factors surrounding one’s particular case, such as the quantity and particular type of drug being smuggled. However, all convictions will expose the accused to excessive fines and a long prison sentence; one should not challenge this legal beast alone. One needs an experienced attorney at one’s side.
Many criminal drug organizations enlist the help of willing participants to smuggle illegal substances into Florida for distribution throughout the United States. Some smugglers will have false bottoms filled with drugs in their luggage. In other cases, unsuspecting citizens may become an active agent in a drug smuggling operation without even realizing it, being recruited for money to take a suitcase to a location, “no questions asked.”
Other Florida drug charges, particularly possession and distribution, occur within the state all the time and are increasing in number. Some of these drug charges can be simple misdemeanors while other more serious offenses can carry penalties up to 1st degree felony charges. Certain classes of drugs as defined in the Florida statutes bring about must harsher penalties due to their more dangerous nature. Even simple concoctions used for recreational use in drug manufacturing are classified in as much more dangerous substances. As such, certain circumstances surrounding the charge will help determine one’s fate in sentencing.
One’s distance from certain areas of businesses or public areas is also a factor in determining the sentence one might possibly face for a Florida drug distribution charge, possibly resulting in additional charges, particularly if one is within 1,000 feet of a:
- child care facility;
- community center; or
- other public recreational facility
Many times, people voluntarily consent to searches because they are scared the police will overpower or force them to undergo the search. However, one does not necessarily have to submit to search and seizure of ones’ person or property unless the police have a warrant. In many cases, a Florida drug distribution charge can be avoided if one’s experienced attorney can show the court evidence that one was unlawfully searched.
Many times, a number of complex criminal charges can leave the accused with a possibly long prison sentence. However, with the help of an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney, one could persuade the Judge to render a much lighter punishment that would involve house arrest, intensive probation, and community service, rather than being solely incarcerated for a long period of time.