A 31-year old Florida man is at the center of what officials with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office say is the largest case involving heroin in agency history. Deputies took the man into custody on March 21 after searching his home. He is facing a long list of charges including counts of heroin trafficking and marijuana possession. Reports indicate that the man became a subject of interest during a long-running multi-agency investigation into the illegal opioid trade.
Deputies are said to have found about 1.3 pounds of a substance made up of heroin and the synthetic opioid Fentanyl when they executed a search warrant at the man’s residence on South 13th Street in Fort Pierce. Two firearms and about $8,000 in cash was also recovered. A law enforcement representative said that the man was taken into custody while free on bail from a heroin-related incident in November, and he added that deputies had suspected the house was being used to sell drugs for some time.
According to police reports, the man’s name came up in an investigation mounted by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and several area police departments that was launched in 2015 in response to a surge in opioid dependence in the area. A 26-year-old man taken into custody during the course of the investigation is said to have identified the man charged in Fort Pierce as his supplier.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue vigorously for drug distribution charges to be dropped when police have violated constitutional protections or witness testimony is uncorroborated and unreliable, but they could take a different approach when the evidence against their clients is compelling and likely to withstand legal challenge. Litigating complex drug cases can be expensive and time-consuming, and prosecutors are sometimes willing to negotiate plea agreements even when their cases appear strong.