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Drug Crimes in Florida Worse Now Than Cocaine Era


It took U.S. Marshals over two decades to locate the last of the infamous ‘Cocaine Cowboys’. With diligence, they finally apprehended Gustavo Falcon in April 2017, charging him as part of a major crime syndicate said to have moved over 75 tons of cocaine between 1970 and early 1990s. Drug crimes during the cocaine balderdash were severe, with many mass murders ordered by drug kingpin Griselda Blanco.

Falcon, spending heartily for his top-notch drug crimes lawyer, was acquitted during his first trial, but after discovering he bribed several jurors to win his release, he was convicted after being retried.

As the drug syndicate slowly broke down, crime tailed off as law enforcement took a much stricter approach to guarding air and waterways. But shortly after the start of 2000, crime rates soared with greater accessibility to drugs, new ways to communicate and Floridians outnumbering law enforcement in epic fashion. Gone were the days where small engine planes landed in isolated fields to deliver several tons of cocaine, ushering in a new era where variants of cocaine, heroin and marijuana were king.

Instead of People Killing for Drugs, Drugs Simply Kill People

With cocaine evolving into crack, synthetic drugs and powerful opioids, drug crimes in Florida have shifted from territorial disputes and gang violence to people simply overdosing on drug combinations. Drug smugglers and low-level dealers now have little incentive to rob or kill people since addicts are willing to pay ridiculous prices for pills and other drugs.

How can drug crime worsen when people are filling hospital beds and methadone clinics?

In today’s market, the demand for various drugs marshals a wider customer base into existence. With every demand for new products comes a greater demand to sell them. This forces people to resort to a new level of creativity, meaning financial scams like check fraud, welfare fraud, varying degrees of medical malpractice and theft become problematic. None of these crimes were widespread during the cocaine years as few are fighting for control today since drugs are plentiful.

Doctors’ offices are being used as fronts for vending oxycodone to anyone with cash. False Medicare and private insurance claims are skyrocketing. Federal agents spend more time following paper trails than drugs, which makes drug crimes today a much larger issue than gumshoes trying to locate Pablo Escobar thirty years ago.

Clearing Court Logjams Could Take Years 

Across America, courts have months of case backlogs related to drug crimes. It’s expected when our nation is consistently ranking number one worldwide in incarceration, locking up 665 per 100,000 residents. This logjam was created when low-level drug offenses and petty thievery were treated seriously, and crimes such as rape or child solicitation were treated less harsh.

In Florida, resources are available to curb the uptick in recidivism, although governing bodies are yet to introduce legislation so these useful community programs can help addicts escape the vicious judicial cycle. Closer airport screening measures, better control of waterways and proactive law enforcement on interstates does help, yet the epidemic is bad enough that people sidestep security with ease.

As baby boomers who were active during the cocaine rush enter retirement, some reflect on just how badly street violence and drug availability handicapped communities large and small. Then again, even more are thankful they’ll soon exit this new era of self-medication that’s killing more people today than Blanco or Escobar could in their prime.

Contact Us Today for Help

Have you been accused of drug crimes in Tampa, and feel you’ll need rigorous defense to avoid serious consequences? Donald C. Barrett, P.A. provides years honest yet zealous trial experience for those being investigated, or facing significant jail time. Don’t fight alone – contact our office today.


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