Judge Sentences Defendant to 70 Months in Prison for Small Scale Online Drug Trafficking Operation
How much time, if any, you will have to spend in prison for a drug conviction depends on many factors. Plea deals can make a big difference. Prior convictions are also an important factor. Old drug convictions can come back to haunt you if you get new drug possession charges. For this reason, many courts in Florida offer pretrial diversion programs for first-time defendants in drug cases; if you complete the program successfully, you can get the charges dropped and go on with your life with no criminal record. Many of the old drug convictions that are currently standing between Floridians and gainful employment, or even a vote in the upcoming election, are for marijuana, and this is a main motivation for the move to legalize and decriminalize cannabis in Florida. This week’s news story involves a defendant whose fate was sealed years ago, when he was convicted of marijuana possession, before the local ordinances that treat cannabis possession in many of Florida’s major cities went into effect. Whether you are facing drug charges for the first time or whether you have a prior record, a Florida drug crimes defense lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
The Rise and Fall of Owlcity
Like so many Floridians, Chrissano Leslie of Miramar was convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana in the early part of the 2010s, when he was in his early 20s. Because of the conviction, his green card and work permit were revoked and his employment options were severely limited. He put his computer skills and his talent for customer service to work selling drugs on Dark Web sites such as Abraxas Marketplace, Agora Marketplace, and Alphabay Market. On these sites, customers use cryptocurrency to buy drugs and other illegal items. Although it is not possible for buyers and sellers to find out each other’s true identities, customers can still rate sellers. Leslie used the alias owlcity, and his customer ratings were 98 percent positive. The cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and anti-anxiety pills they bought from him, usually in very small quantities, always arrived quickly.
The trouble began in 2016, when the United States Postal Service did not deliver a package that Leslie sent by Priority Mail to a customer. After Leslie accessed the USPS website from his home computer to track the package, the DEA was onto him. Undercover agents made several online purchases from him beginning in March 2016, and he was arrested in July 2016.
In 2017, after pleading guilty, Leslie was sentenced to 70 months in prison. He will most likely be deported to Jamaica, his country of birth, after he finishes his sentence, even though he has lived in Florida since he was nine years old. Things could have been very different for him if unfairly harsh marijuana laws had not barred him from legal employment.
Let Us Help You Today
A Florida drug offense lawyer can help you fight your charges or get your previous drug conviction expunged. Contact FL Drug Defense Group to discuss your case.