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Drug Trafficking in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for drug trafficking or a conspiracy to traffic in illegal drugs in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Call us to discuss ways to aggressively fight the charges against you.

Drug trafficking charges can be prosecuted in state court or federal court. This article is devoted to explaining how these drug charges are prosecuted in state court under Florida law. Drug trafficking is essentially an accusation that you possessed a certain quantity of a controlled substance. The possession of the drugs can be either actual or constructive. A drug trafficking conviction does not necessarily require a showing that you are a drug dealer, or that you even had the intention to sell the drugs to another person.

Instead, the prosecutor must prove that you knew the illicit nature of the controlled substance that you possessed and that the controlled substance had a certain weight. Important defenses can be raised in these cases including contesting the illegal nature of the search or defenses related to your lack of knowledge concerning the alleged possession.

For drug trafficking charges prosecuted in the Circuit Courts in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, or the surrounding counties in Pinellas County, Pasco County, or Polk County, FL, then contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.


Type of Punishments in Drug Trafficking Cases

Drug trafficking offenses commonly involve the following types of narcotics or controlled substances:

  • Marijuana;
  • Cocaine;
  • Heroin; or
  • Prescription medications such as hydrocodone or oxycontin.

Florida's statutory scheme provides for different penalties or punishment depending on the type and amount of the substance possessed. Enhanced penalties can exist for armed trafficking. 

Other aggravating factors can include a prior drug conviction, involvement in a conspiracy, or possession of a firearm. In those cases, you could be facing an even longer prison sentence.


An Overview:

· Cocaine Trafficking Penalties
· Cannabis Trafficking Penalties
· Heroin Trafficking Penalties
· Defenses
· Resources


Cocaine Trafficking Penalties in Florida

Any charge of "Trafficking in Cocaine" is a first-degree felony punishable by up to thirty (30) years in Florida State Prison. Florida law also provides for certain minimum mandatory sentences depending on the amount of cocaine allegedly involved in the trafficking incident:

  • 28 to 200 grams of cocaine carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine;
  • 200 to 400 grams of cocaine carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000.00 fine; or
  • 400 grams to 1.5 kilograms carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000.00 fine.

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Cannabis Trafficking Penalties

"Trafficking in Cannabis" penalties depend on the amount of cannabis involved in the trafficking offense, but each trafficking offense is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.

  • 25 to 2,000 pounds of cannabis or 300 or more cannabis plants carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $25,000.00 fine;
  • 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds (or 2000 or more cannabis plants) carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine; or
  • 10,000 pounds or more of cannabis or 10,000 or more cannabis plants carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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Heroin Trafficking Penalties

"Trafficking in Heroin" charges are all first-degree felony offenses punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. These penalties also apply to Opium, Morphine and prescription pills containing Hydrocodone (Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, Tylox, and Codeine). 

Minimum mandatory provisions depend on the amount of heroin allegedly involved in the heroin trafficking offense:

  • trafficking 4 to 14 grams of heroin carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000 fine.
  • trafficking 14 to 28 grams of heroin carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000 fine.
  • trafficking 28 grams and 30 kilograms carries a twenty-five (25) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $500,000 fine.

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Amphetamine Trafficking Penalties

Amphetamine Trafficking penalties depend on the amount of amphetamine involved in the trafficking offense, but each trafficking offense is a first degree felony, punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.

  • 14-28 grams of amphetamine carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine;
  • 28-200 grams of amphetamine carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000.00 fine; or
  • More than 200 grams carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $150,000 fine.

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Florida G.H.B. Trafficking Penalties

G.H.B. trafficking penalties depend on the amount of G.H.B. involved in the trafficking offense, but each trafficking offense is a first degree felony, punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison. G.H.B. includes gamma-hydroxybutyric acid including GBL or gamma-butyrolactone. One liter of liquid GHB weights about 1 k.g.

  • 1 kilo to 5 kilos of G.H.B. carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine;
  • 5 kilo to 10 kilos of G.H.B. carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000.00 fine; or
  • 10 kilos of G.H.B. carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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Florida 1,4 BD (1,4 Butanediol) Trafficking Penalties

1,4 BD is a G.H.B. alternative drug which is also known as GHB-OH. It is metabolized slower than GHB and GBL. 1,4 BD trafficking penalties depend on the amount of 1,4 BD involved in the trafficking offense, but each trafficking offense is a first degree felony, punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.

Note that one liter of liquid 1,4 BD weights about 1 kg.

  • 1 kilo to 5 kilos of 1,4 BD carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine;
  • 5 kilo to 10 kilos of 1,4 BD carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000.00 fine;
  • 10 kilos of 1,4 BD carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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M.D.M.A. (Ecstasy) Trafficking Penalties

Trafficking in MDMA or Ecstasy penalties depend on the amount of ecstasy or M.D.M.A. involved in the trafficking offense, but each trafficking offense is a first degree felony, punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.  Note:

  • one (1) tablet weights about .25 grams;
  • forthy (40) tablets weight about 10 grams;
  • eight hundred (800) tablets weight about 200 grams; and
  • one thousand six hundred (1,600) tablets weight about 400 grams.

These penalties also apply to other types of phenethylamines.

  • If you are accused of trafficking between 10-200 grams MDMA, ecstasy or phenethylamines, then the offense carries a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $50,000.00 fine;
  • If you are accused of trafficking between 200 - 400 grams of MDMA, ecstasy or phenethylamines, then the offense carries a seven (7) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $100,000.00 fine;
  • If you are accused of trafficking 400 grams to 1.5 kilos of MDMA, ecstasy or phenethylamines, then the offense carries a fifteen (15) year minimum mandatory sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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Defenses to Drug Trafficking Offenses

Defenses to drug trafficking, conspiracy to traffic drugs, and trafficking in cocaine can include contesting the legality of the search warrant, arrest warrant, vehicle or home search, or showing an affirmative defense such as entrapment.

Drug trafficking charges are treated very seriously under Florida law. The State of Florida is considered by the United States Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) to be an important area for international money laundering and drug trafficking operations. Major drug trafficking organizations are active in Florida because of Florida's 8,000 miles of coastline, proximity to the Bahamas, and ties of Floridians to Central and South America. Trafficking in cocaine is considered the primary threat to Florida.

We represent individuals charged with serious drug trafficking crimes in the Tampa Bay Area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Manatee County, and Hernando County, FL. Contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm for serious drug crimes. We handle cases involving an arrest for drug trafficking or conspiracy to traffic in Tampa, Bartow, Brooksville, Dade City, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and New Port Richey, Florida.

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Resources for Drug Trafficking Penalties

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) list of penalties for federal trafficking offenses.

Drug Trafficking and Interdiction - Drug Policy Alliance Network provides information on interdiction efforts directed at international drug trafficking.

Youth Gang Drug Trafficking - Bulletin from the Department of Justice Office and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention about gang member involvement in drug sales.

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This article was last updated by  on Friday, July 15, 2016.