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Traffic stop leads to drug trafficking charges for Florida man

A Florida man was charged with drug trafficking after a routine traffic stop on the night of Aug. 8 led to the discovery of significant quantities of cocaine, Viagra and cash. According to a report from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, the 47-year-old Ocala resident was released from the Marion County Jail on Aug. 9 after posting a $51,000 bond. A records check showed that the man has been incarcerated at the facility on at least 28 prior occasions.

Deputies claim that the man was exceeding the posted speed limit by 25 mph when they pulled his vehicle over on the southbound lanes of U.S. Route 301. The man allegedly refused to give deputies permission to search his vehicle, but a thorough inventory was taken after a K-9 unit gave a positive alert near the driver's door. Deputies say that the man seemed nervous and agitated as he exited his vehicle.

Deputies claim to have discovered 80 grams of cocaine, 14 Viagra pills and $11,000 in currency during their search of the man's car. The amount of cocaine seized is three times the amount required to merit drug trafficking charges under Florida law. Media reports reveal that the man has spent almost 10 years behind bars on a variety of cocaine and hydrocodone possession and trafficking charges.

When dealing with cases where serious drug crimes are alleged, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police reports to find out if the K-9 officer involved was in the police vehicle when the traffic stop was made. This is because police officers are prohibited by the Fourth Amendment from conducting warrantless searches unless they have good reason to believe that evidence of illegal activity will be discovered, and the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that traffic stops can't be prolonged so that dogs can be called in to provide the needed probable cause.

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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