SUSPECT NOT ARRESTED UNTIL MULTIPLE SALES
A recent News4Jax story gives details into the arrest of Reco Benefield and Amber Troutman for drug charges and child neglect. The news report states that an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Detective met with Benefield to purchase crack cocaine on January 11, 2017. After the alledged hand to hand drug sale was completed a takedown signal was given and Benefield was taken into custody. The same Detectives apparently had previously purchased crack cocaine from Benefield on December 15, 2016. Benefield was also out on bond for 2016 Drug Charges dealing with the Sale of Pills (Oxycodone and Dilaudid) as well as crack cocaine on September 13, 2016 and September 14, 2016.
EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY AND CELL PHONE USE COMES BACK TO HAUNT THE ACCUSED
Benefield’s cases all involve Undercover Narcotics Detectives utilizing cell phones to contact Benefield as well as to text Benefield. The live phone calls between Benefield and JSO certainly will be recorded as evidence setting up the transactions. Further it is fairly simple for JSO to print out copies of the text messages to utilize as evidence against Benefield. Video recording devices are also often utilized to capture the transactions and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Arrest and Booking Reports reflect that they were used in all of the transactions with Benefield.
Mr. Benefield already has a tough road in front of him. Each drug sale he is charged with carries a maximum of 15 years in Florida State Prison. He currently has four separate and individual sales. The maximum Benefield faces on just the drug sales is 60 years in Florida State Prison. Further the State of Florida will be able to try each sale individually against Benefield. Benefield would have to be found not guilty at trial four separate times. The State of Florida can sit down and pick which case to try first, likely their strongest one. The State of Florida gets to choose which case is tried first, as they have the burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Many times, the local police will set up several “buys” with the same dealer. Rather than arresting the dealer after the first sale, the police will leave a known dealer on the street, knowing full well that he or she is still selling. The objective is to load the soon to be arrested dealer up with multiple cases. If undercover police or a confidential informant conduct a purchase of drugs and the seller is arrested on the spot, that is called a “buy-bust.” Here, the method employed originally was a “buy-walk” where the drugs were bought but law enforcement did not arrest the seller until later, and when arrested later, that was a “buy-bust” arrest. The accused is entitled under the rules of discovery to see all of the evidence against him. In most of these drug sale cases the police have fairly decent videos of the transactions. It is not known to this writer if the videos of Benefield show him doing anything illegal. While he awaits trial he is also presumed to be innocent.
A NEW ARREST WHILE OUT ON BOND EQUALS A BOND REVOCATION
Since Mr. Benefield was out on bond for his earlier drug sales accusations, he likely will remain in the Duval County Jail until his cases resolve. Anytime an individual is arrested for new charges, commonly referred to as “New Law Violations,” the State of Florida is able to file a Motion to Revoke Bond. All that is required by the State to have a Motion to Revoke Bond Granted, is that probable cause existed for the arrest of Benefield on new charges. Attaching an Arresting and Booking Sheet is all that is typically needed. The State of Florida filed a Motion to Revoke bond against Benefield, which is almost automatically heard by the Judge. The Judge heard the State’s motion and in fact revoked Benefield’s bond on January 18, 2017. Benefield is now being held with No Bond until his case is resolved. Possibly down the road Benefield’s lawyer may be able to file a Motion to Set Bond, similar to a Motion to Reduce Bond, however the chances of the Court granting that motion are very slim. One additional concern, for those defendants that remain in jail, is the recording of all phone calls they make. Local Prosecutors have made hundreds of cases simply because the inmate or his or her family bring up and discuss the facts of the case, even with a recorded warning issued at the start of every call.