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4 charged with drug trafficking after recent bust

Nearly 17 people were arrested on drug-related charges in Okaloosa and Walton counties recently, Florida officials say. The arrests, most of which were made over the course of a recent week in March, were the result of a two-year narcotics investigation. Of the 17 individuals arrested, four were charged with drug trafficking.

The operation netted a kilo of cocaine, one firearm and several thousand dollars of cash, according to a spokeswoman from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. The wholesale street value of the cocaine was estimated to be $30,000. The unofficial name of the operation was Operation Cagney and Lazer, and it was conducted by the OCSO, which received assistance from the U.S. Marshals, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The operation targets both mid-level and street-level dealers, as well as buyers of cocaine. Many arrests were made once a judge signed an order in Nov. 2015 which authorized the cellular communications both to and from an alleged cocaine trafficker to be intercepted, according to the reports. The spokeswoman noted that more arrests will take place. Of the 17 arrested, the four men who were accused of drug trafficking were between the ages of 33 and 41.

These four individuals all face a number of criminal charges in addition to drug trafficking. However, no matter how serious the accusations may appear to be, being charged with a crime is simply a formal accusation -- those accused will remain innocent in the eyes of the law unless and until prosecutors actually prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a Florida criminal court. Additionally, the prosecutors are responsible for separately proving each defendant's charges. Nevertheless, a drug trafficking conviction could potentially result in severe penalties that might include substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences. As such, those who are accused of similar crimes typically choose to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: newdailynews.com, "Massive cocaine bust results in 17 arrests", Wendy Victora, March 23, 2016

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