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Florida's New Fentanyl Law Can Lead To Murder Charges For Drug Dealers

A new law in Florida will now charge some drug dealers for murder. A state law that was put into place just under two years ago, is now being implemented and could lead to drug dealers being put behind bars for more than just possessing and selling illegal substances. The law signed by Gov. Rick Scott is aimed at those dealing in Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is often used illegally. It's a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Like morphine, it's typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. Fentanyl is most often abused by drug users who are seeking a stronger high.

The Florida Medical Examiner's Commission says Fentanyl is one of the leading causes of drug overdose deaths in Florida, only being surpassed by cocaine. According to the Florida Medical Examiner's Commission's report in November 2018, fentanyl caused 1,743 deaths in 2017, 1,390 deaths in 2016, and 705 deaths in 2015. These numbers are what ultimately led to the passing of the law.

What The New Florida Law Means

The law states that drug dealers could face murder charges if their customers overdose and die using Fentanyl. It also imposes a minimum three year sentence for anyone caught with at least four grams of Fentanyl or other similar drugs like carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than its more common variant. In addition, those caught with 14 or more grams of Fentanyl will be imprisoned for at least 15 years and those caught with 28 or more grams would serve minimum 25-year prison sentences.

Lawmakers have decided Fentanyl is a murder weapon in the same way a gun or knife can be perceived as one and they mean business. While many overdoses may be accidental, there are plenty of situations where they aren't. One case going to court at the end of this year involves the parents and siblings of Thomas Matuseski, a Boynton Beach man who died at age 36 on January 28, 2018, now have a chance to obtain justice for their son and brother, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinal. His dealer, Calvin Warren Jr., became the first person to be indicted for first-degree murder after the law changed.

These are some pretty strict laws, but Governor Rick Scott told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "I'm proud to sign this important piece of legislation today to help fight this national epidemic, which has taken the lives of too many Floridians."

Do You Know Someone Who Is Being Charged For Drug Dealing?

If you or someone you know is being accused of selling drugs or being at-fault due to someone's overdose, having an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference when it comes to your case. Contact Russell Spatz today at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help. Russell has decades of experienc and always puts his clients first.

References:

Velzer, Ryan Van, and Ryan Van Velzer. "Gov. Rick Scott Signs Fentanyl Trafficking Bill into Law." Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4 June 2018, www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-fentanyl-trafficking-law-20170614-story.html.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Fentanyl." NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl.

Freeman, Marc. "Florida Now Treats Drug Dealers as Killers - and the Law Is Going after Them." Sun, 14 June 2019, www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-ne-fentanyl-murder-cases-20190614-5durlgxbcnch5cqs3ossqrbr3m-story.html.

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