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Drug Trafficking

Florida law defines drug trafficking as knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, importing by bringing into Florida, or knowingly being in actual or constructive possession of, certain Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances in a statutorily specified quantity. 

In Florida, the drug trafficking statute only applies to a limited number of controlled substances that are listed in s. 893.135, F.S. The controlled substance involved in the trafficking must meet a specified weight or quantity threshold.

Most drug trafficking offenses are charged as a first-degree felony which is generally punishable by up to thirty (30) years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Drug trafficking offenses can also be classified as first degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment as specified in Sections 775.082 and 775.083, F.S.

Many drug trafficking crimes are subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. At last count, Florida law provided for fifty-six (56) mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment in s. 893.135, F.S., which range from three years to life imprisonment. Drug trafficking crimes also include a mandatory fine, which is determined by the weight or quantity range applicable to the weight or quantity of the substance involved in the trafficking.

Attorney for Drug Trafficking Crimes 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.

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.

If possible, it is important to have an attorney prior to the arrest because if you are arrested for any Trafficking Offense, then you will not be released on a bail bond until after your first appearance hearing. The judge presiding at the first appearance hearing will determine the appropriate amount of bail bond, if any.

Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.


Types 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 to commit a drug crime, or possession of a firearm.


Overview of Drug Trafficking Penalties

· Cocaine Trafficking Penalties
· Cannabis Trafficking Penalties
· Heroin Trafficking Penalties


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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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 afirst-degreee 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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Additional Resources

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties - Visit the website of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to find a chart showing the penalties for federal trafficking offenses organized by drug/schedule, quantity, and penalties. The penalties for marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil are listed separately for both a first and second offense.

Drug Trafficking and Interdiction - Drug Policy Alliance Network provides information on interdiction efforts directed at international drug trafficking. The website explains why, despite forty years of US-led international drug control efforts, the overall drug production, trafficking and consumption have remained consistently steady during that time period.

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. The bulletin discusses the impact of drug trafficking and the needs of young people who live in the presence of youth gangs.


Lawyers for Drug Trafficking Offenses in Florida

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.

Our drug crime attorneys 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.

After an arrest for drug trafficking or conspiracy to traffic in Tampa, Bartow, Brooksville, Dade City, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and New Port Richey, Florida, call us to discuss your case.

Call 813-250-0500.


This article was last updated by on Friday, October 17, 2018.