Jacksonville Drug Bust Leads to Several Arrests in Duval County FL

Florida MDMA Drug Law

Night club drug bust due to Molly and other controlled substances.

Sixteen people were arrested on different drug charges in Jacksonville FL after an undercover drug bust at Pure Night Club on Phillips Highway. This night club drug bust stems from an investigation conducted by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office called Operation Poppin’ Molly. Channel 4 News of Jacksonville reported that this investigation “lasted more than two months and it involved more than 100 drug sales.”  “Police say multiple drugs were sold at Pure Nightclub off Philips Highway, but the big one was MDMA, known mostly by its street name ‘Molly.’” MDMA is referred to as Molly and has also been referred to as Ecstasy. “The charges in the case include drug possession and drugs sales. Police say other drugs found during the bust include cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.”

The news article did not state the exact charges, but here is a list of possible charges that relate to MDMA:

  1. Possession of MDMA
  2. Sale, Distribution, Manufacture, Possession with the Intent to Sell, or Delivery of MDMA
  3. Trafficking in MDMA

Possession of MDMA

Florida Statute Section 893.03(6)(a) states:

“A person may not be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized by this chapter. A person who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

Under this Florida drug law, possession of Molly is a third-degree felony.

Sale of MDMA

Section 893.03(1)(c) of the Florida Statutes lists 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is referred to as Molly and Ecstasy, as a controlled substance. Section 893.13(1)(a)(2) states:

“Except as authorized by this chapter and chapter 499, a person may not sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance. A person who violates this provision with respect to…. a controlled substance named or described in s. 893.03(1)(c)…. commits a felony of the third degree.”

This means a person that sells, delivers, manufactures or possess Molly with the intent to sell the drug will be facing a third-degree felony.

Trafficking Drugs in Jacksonville FL

What is the difference between possessing and trafficking a drug or controlled substance? The easiest way to describe trafficking is by saying that it is exactly like possession. When it comes to trafficking a drug, the wording can be misleading. Let’s use marijuana as an example. Many people have possessed marijuana before in their lives. Many high school and college students have experimented with marijuana, so this is a good example. In most Florida cases, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime.   What if you were arrested for possessing 20 grams of more of marijuana in Jacksonville FL? If this is the case, you will be arrested for a third-degree felony. What if you were arrested for possessing more than 25 pounds of marijuana? You will be arrested for a first-degree felony, because this is trafficking. The difference is the amount, not the action. In each one of those examples, the defendant was in possession of marijuana. The crime increased from possession of marijuana to trafficking in cannabis due to the quantity, not a change in activity.

Trafficking MDMA

How does possession of Molly turn into trafficking Molly?  Section 893.135(k)(3)(A) of the Florida Statutes states:

“A person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of, 10 grams or more of any of the following substances described in s. 893.03(1)(c)…. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)…. individually or analogs thereto or isomers thereto or in any combination of or any mixture containing any substance listed in sub-subparagraphs a.-r., commits a felony of the first degree, which felony shall be known as ‘trafficking in Phenethylamines,’ punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

Florida Statute Section 893.135(k)(3)(A) further provides that if the quantity involved:

a. Is 10 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years and shall be ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.
b. Is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years and shall be ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.
c. Is 400 grams or more, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and shall be ordered to pay a fine of $250,000.

How much is 10 grams? It is not very much. That means that it does not take a large amount of Molly to be considered trafficking. Ten grams equal 0.35274 of an ounce. To put things in perspective, there are 16 ounces in a pound.  An ounce is only 1/16 of a pound, and 10 grams is approximately 1/3 of an ounce.

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