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2 men are helpful to police, charged with drug possession crimes

A couple of young men did not help themselves much in their recent arrest in Florida on drug charges. Police came to the door of an apartment in Fort Walton Beach on a noise complaint on Feb. 23. Deputies say that they noticed a "strong odor of green marijuana" coming from the apartment and eventually ended up arresting two people for drug possession.

An 18-year-old male spoke to deputies in front of the apartment, according to police. When the man opened the door to the apartment to get his identification, deputies reportedly noticed the "strong odor" of marijuana from inside the apartment. As a general rule, smelling a distinctive aroma associated with an illegal substance would allow entrance into the apartment for further investigation of a crime taking place in front of them.

Nonetheless, the 18-year-old granted permission for them to enter, according to police reports. Consent to search, if validly given, is always an exception to search and seizure rules that require probable cause to enter and search. In most cases, police must first get a search warrant to enter a private home, even if they believe that they have probable cause. Voluntary Consent by the homeowner or resident usually trumps the need for probable cause or a warrant.

A 19-year-old male arrived later and told police that he lived there. He told police all about his purported drug activities, including the price he charges for the pot and the price he pays to his source, according to authorities. It is always advisable to request to speak to a lawyer prior to answering any questions or volunteering information.

Florida authorities allege that they found 160 grams of marijuana and a scale, which the 19-year-old graciously identified as his own. They filed drug possession charges against the men and hit the older male with a distribution charge.  Each suspect needs to consult as soon as possible with his own separate criminal defense attorney, because, in this case, it may be prudent to begin early negotiations. In general, the first suspect to agree to negotiate and cooperate will usually obtain the best plea agreement and the lighter sentence.

Source: nwfdailynews.com, "Noise complaint leads to drug arrests", March 10, 2015

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Ian F. Mann PA

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