Friday, April 6, 2012

Pinellas County Narcotics Officers’ Tactics Called into Question

Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses how the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit arrests could be called into question.


Late in 2011 the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office conducted a sting to apprehend alleged marijuana growers.  In this instance, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit utilized questionable tactics: secretly videotaping customers of a Largo based hydroponic gardening shop, illegally entering citizen’s property, and using questionable means to obtain search warrants.  Now Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has gone on record stating that his own officers’ tactics had an, “air of deceit,” that they used, “shortcuts,” and that the entire unit was “too loose.”

Why This Matters To You:

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has publicly stated that the Narcotic Unit’s methods were questionable at best.  In fact, the Sheriff asked the State Attorney’s Office to drop the charges against the alleged marijuana growers that were targeted in the hydroponics store sting.  Further, certain officers may face criminal charges for their actions.

This issue highlights a potential far reaching consequence of the officers’ questionable behavior:  If an officer provides sworn testimony in a criminal drug case in Pinellas County and elements of that testimony are called into question, it could very well call into question all aspects of the officers’ statements and the case itself.

Additionally, this issue touches not only the marijuana growing cases, but any case touched by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit.  As Sheriff Gualtieri has stated the activities of his officers raise, “serious questions about their veracity across the board.”

What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with a drug related offense throughout Tampa and the surrounding areas, contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss you case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a free initial consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing alleged drug and marijuana offenders throughout Pinellas County the entire Tampa Bay, FL area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Largo, Dunedin and Bradenton.