Following the service of search warrants, Lake County Sheriff’s detectives assisted the US Marshal’s Service in arresting Nathan Lee Steffen of Fort Meyers, wanted on a fugitive warrant and Charles Daniel Wilson of Lucerne. Detectives took Steffen into custody as he was attempting to leave the residence he was allegedly hiding at. Police executed a search warrant for the residence, finding 63 ounces of processed marijuana inside the residence in several different areas. All of the processed marijuana and the marijuana plants were seized as evidence.
Detectives located a US Postal Box inside the vehicle. Steffen told detectives that the box contained between four and five ounces of marijuana that was supposed to be mailed to an individual in Tampa, allegedly stating to detectives that he was just trying to pay his bills.
During the investigation, detectives were able to locate a large residential marijuana grow at the residence, which was secured until another search warrant could be obtained. During the search detectives located 15 marijuana plants growing outside. Brooks said they also located 60 mature marijuana plants growing inside the garage.
One major problem that many accused parties in non-violent drug related situations like this where the accused has not shown up for court, is that the accused faces the issuing of a fugitive warrant. Any type of warrant in Jacksonville is serious, whether it involves a new crime, failure to appear, failure to comply with probation terms or other difficulties in the legal system. Unfortunately, leniency is not often given to those who do not comply with a scheduled court date. In fact, many judges take the crime very seriously, being quick to impose harsh penalties for those who are found to have failed to appear in court. In most cases, the only way to avoid such consequences is to provide a defensible reason for one’s absence.
One of the biggest challenges that many accused parties face when arrested for a non-violent crime such as a drug crime is their own desire to explain their actions, hoping for some leniency or relief from what they fear is a long prison sentence. In this case, Steffen admitted to police his intent to send 4-5 ounces of marijuana, a felony offense both in federal and state court, to another individual in Tampa. Because of this admission, he may now be brought on an additional charge of distribution, with a statement to police of admission of guilt.
The first piece of advice that most lawyers and non-lawyers will give is this: Remain Silent. When being questioned after arrest or when simply speaking to police, officers will approach one not as if one is a reasonable human being, but with an aggressive attitude as if one is a known criminal or in the act of doing something very wrong. Many times, the police will force one out of a vehicle or against a wall, patting one down or looking through one’s car or home in certain circumstances. One may likely feel the itch to explain oneself, and either admit to one’s wrongdoing at the outset, or prove to the officers one did not do what the officers are accusing one of doing. Remember, no matter what the situation, talk to no one but one’s experienced attorney.
Many times, charges for marijuana grow houses surface after utility theft cases are brought, as many of these cases are tied to grow houses, where offenders use high amounts of energy, and in some cases, tamper with the meter or bypass it entirely to avoid raising suspicion. Often, these types of hydroponic operations include specially designed timing systems for lighting and irrigation, as well as electric meter diversions. Remember, the statements one makes to FPL or JEA, as well as one’s monitored electricity usage may be used against one by a prosecutor as a scare tactic, hoping to get one to admit to a crime that one may or may not have committed. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney to fight the case, one’s attorney will be able to ensure any illegally obtained evidence against one will be suppressed, limiting what the prosecution and police have access to, possibly having one’s charges dropped.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.