The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Florida reported in a press release on June 17 that a Florida man has been sentenced to 15 years in a federal corrections facility for possessing a firearm while a convicted felon. The 31-year-old Tallahassee resident was found guilty of the weapons offense following a jury trial. He was sentenced under the provisions of the Armed Career Criminal Act because he has several prior convictions for distributing illegal drugs dating back to 2012 according to the press release.
The sequence of the events that led to the man’s sentencing began when officers from the Tallahassee Police Department pulled a vehicle over after observing its driver commit several traffic violations. The man was taken into custody after officers determined that he did not have a valid driver’s license and drugs and a gun were found in his vehicle.
The decision to search the man’s vehicle was made after a K9 unit alerted to the presence of drugs. The search is said to have yielded an unspecified quantity of an illegal drug commonly referred to as “bath salts,” a gun with an extended magazine and several items commonly used to weigh, package and distribute drugs. The ensuing investigation was conducted by the TPD, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may pay particularly close attention to the timeline of events when police dogs discover drugs during traffic stops. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers violate rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment when they delay traffic stops without good reason so K9 units have enough time to reach the scene. When this ruling appears to have been ignored, attorneys could seek to exclude any evidence discovered as a result.