A Marathon man was stopped by police in Monroe County, Florida, due to a suspected seat belt violation. Under Florida law, officers can legally stop you if they believe that you or any of your passengers are not wearing their seat belts.
Once legally stopped, the officer approached the driver-side window and allegedly smelled marijuana. In Florida, the smell of marijuana alone is sufficient probable cause to give the officer the right to search your entire vehicle, including the trunk.
Upon conducting a search of the car, officers found marijuana, cash, a digital scale, and Xanax (alprazolam) pills. There were approximately 200 Xanax pills, although officers did not state how much the 200 pills weighed.
In Florida, trafficking depends on the physical weight of the drug possessed.
Officers arrested the driver on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.
A search of the suspect’s home, however - possibly by way of a search warrant - yielded several pounds of marijuana, another 340 Xanax pills, more drug paraphernalia, and a large amount of cash.
He was charged with another count of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.
All of the money found, both in the car and in the home, will likely be subject to forfeiture proceedings.
Eric Matheny is a drug possession, drug sale, and drug trafficking attorney, representing clients in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida.