The new year is off to a rough start for one Gainesville man. On Jan. 3, he was arrested for allegedly hiding cocaine between beer cases in a store and attempting to flee from police.

According to authorities, the 39-year-old defendant was driving on the 100 block of Northwest 12th Street in Gainesville around 11 p.m. when a law enforcement officer noticed he was driving on a suspended license. The officer followed him to a McDonald’s drive-thru on the 1200 block of West University Avenue and motioned for him to pull over. In response, the man pulled into the parking lot for Gator Beverage Inc. and walked into the store. Once inside, he ducked down and tried to hide. The officer apprehended the defendant and placed him under arrest. He then discovered that the defendant had left a boy between the ages of 5 and 8 alone in the front seat of his vehicle.

When the officer retraced the defendant’s path in the store, he allegedly located a baggie containing 11.6 grams of cocaine stuffed between two cases of beer. Meanwhile, the child allegedly told another officer that his dad makes extra money by selling drugs. The defendant was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, resisting an officer without violence and driving with a suspended license. He was transported to the Alachua County Jail and held on a $185,000 bond.

Individuals facing drug charges have the right to mount a vigorous defense against the allegations. A criminal defense attorney could represent a defendant in court and work to get the charges dropped. If this is not possible, legal counsel could negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges. For example, some defendants may be eligible to attend a drug diversion program in lieu of going to jail.

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