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Florida man accused of flakka importation avoids conviction

With the manufacture and distribution of synthetic drugs spanning state lines and even continents, law enforcement is often hard-pressed to keep track of the different kinds of drugs being sold. In recent years, however, various synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (commonly called bath salts) and products sold as Molly have been made illegal on the state and federal levels.

If you are aware of any of these drugs, then you may also know that Florida officials are particularly concerned about the importation and sale of flakka. Use of this synthetic cathinone, also called Alpha-PVP, has surged in Florida.

There is a serious risk of overdose and bodily injury with this drug, and police and prosecutors are aware of this. In many cases, flakka has been imported from Chinese labs, although China officially banned Alpha-PVP and many other synthetic drugs in October 2015.

Anyone accused of possessing, selling or importing flakka faces the possibility of serious penalties. Every drug case is different, though, and there may be viable defense options for avoiding jail time and other penalties.

That was the case recently in South Florida, where a young man avoided a conviction in a widely followed federal trial. The 24-year-old was accused of accepting 2 kilograms of flakka through the U.S. mail. Prosecutors said the packages came from China, and that the defendant received the drugs on behalf of another man who had already been convicted.

In this case, however, the defense successfully argued that the 24-year-old was unaware of the contents of the packages when he received them, and he was acquitted by a federal jury. Had he been convicted, he likely would have faced a lengthy prison sentence.

To learn more about possible defense strategies in drug cases, please see The Umansky Law Firm's drug crime overview.

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