Detectives at Miami International Airport have arrested a 17-year old from London whom they say was carrying nearly 30 pounds of cocaine. The cocaine was reportedly being smuggled in boxes of cake mix.
The accused is being held at Miami’s juvenile detention center on first-degree felony charges of trafficking in cocaine and importation of a controlled substance. The accused will turn 18 shortly and will be direct filed as an adult in Circuit Court.
Trafficking in cocaine carries mandatory sentencing, much like every other trafficking offense in the State of Florida.
Florida's trafficking in cocaine sentencing scheme goes as follows:
If the amount of cocaine is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, the defendant shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.
If the amount of cocaine is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, the defendant shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, and the defendant shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.
If the amount of cocaine is 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, the defendant shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 calendar years and pay a fine of $250,000.
In this case, 30 pounds is equal to about 13 kilograms, which is approximately 1,300 grams. This young person who has been arrested at Miami International Airport will face a mandatory 15 year prison term.
The accused allegedly told police that she did not know what she was carrying. As you may know from earlier posts, the constitutionality of Florida's drug law is being tested in the courts right now. As the law is presently written, the prosecution need not prove that the accused had knowledge that they were carrying an illegal drug. The prosecution must only prove that the defendant possessed a substance, and that the substance was an illegal drug.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call to discuss your case.