In addition to the significant bust, authorities also took three suppliers off the streets as part of Operation Big Apple, a years-long investigation targeting drugs trafficked to Florida from New York City.
When it comes to civil asset forfeiture, you win some and you lose some. Minor details can make all of the difference. Here are some examples of forfeiture cases and their outcomes.
City of Edgewood v. Williams, 556 So. 2d 1390 (Fla. 1990)
Vehicles used merely to transport an individual who then engages in criminal activity must be closely and knowingly related to the criminal conduct. If illegal activity could have occurred without use of the vehicle, or if the illegal activity had not been intended when the vehicle was used, then it cannot be subject to forfeiture. In this case, a Porsche was used to drive to the Tampa International Airport, where the driver flew to North Dakota to conduct a drug deal. The Porsche was “only remotely incidental” to the underlying crime, and thus not subject to forfeiture.
Luis Manuel Charchabal was arrested in Miami-Dade, Florida on Thursday on drug trafficking charges after a long-term investigation by Miami-Dade police and the state attorney’s office. He was reportedly found in possession of 2.5 kilos of heroin and fentanyl.
Charchabal, 53, is being charged with three counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver and three counts of illegal trafficking of heroin. His bond was set at $1 million. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
Dr. Willem Ouw of Broward County, Florida was arrested last week for allegedly running a “pill mill” from his medical office. Ouw, 84, faces charges for dispensing a controlled substance without authorization by law, conspiracy to dispense oxycodone, and attempting to dispense oxycodone, morphine, and amphetamine. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
Three of Ouw’s employees, Sarah Shoopman of Orange County, Belafonte “Quincy” Byard of Broward County, and Donna Licata of Broward County, were also arrested. They are being charged with one count of conspiracy to dispense a controlled substance without authorization by law. If found guilty, they each face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison. News sources did not name attorneys for them.
He was charged last month with a number of drug offenses, including possession of cannabis and cocaine, possession of cannabis and cocaine with intent to sell, and selling cocaine and cannabis near a school. It is unclear if he has acquired legal representation.