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Store owner facing felony drug charges over sale of "spice"

The owner of a Florida convenience store has recently been arrested and charged with felony drug charges. She is accused of selling synthetic marijuana. A felony charge like this can have serious repercussions. Those charged with felonies in Florida can face large fines and more than a year in prison. When a felony charge is for the sale or distribution of an illegal drug, mandatory sentencing guidelines can significantly increase the length of a prison sentence.

In this recent case, this woman was the first arrest for the sale of the synthetic drug known as spice. These drugs are often sold in convenient stores and labeled as potpourri. These packages are only illegal if they contain chemicals that have been outlawed by Florida laws.

In order for police to make an arrest in this case, they claim that they used an undercover agent to purchase the spice. Following that, the spice was tested in a lab to see if it contained the illegal chemicals. In this case, police allege that the spice they purchased contained the chemical XLR-11 which was named as a Schedule 1 narcotic in Florida last December.

The woman in this case claims that she removed all the spice from her store once she learned it was illegal. Nevertheless, she has been charged with felony sale and possession of a controlled substance and will face prison time.

Those facing felony drug charges should create a strong defense. In cases concerning the sale of synthetic drugs like spice, people -- including the woman in this case -- should challenge the presence of the illegal drugs in the product. Laws surrounding the sale of these drugs are new and rapidly changing and police may not always get the laws correct. Police and prosecutors have the burden to show that the illegal chemicals were actually present in the product and that they were actually illegal at the time of sale. If these things cannot be shown, then charges may have to be dropped.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, "St. Pete store owner charged with illegal sale of 'spice'," Carl Lisciandrello, March 28, 2013

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The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-3424

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