A 38-year-old firefighter from Pinellas Park, who also has a license as a special weapons and tactics paramedic, has been arrested on 16 charges of possession or selling prescription painkillers. He is suspended with pay, and his medical license is under suspension. The city's emergency medical services conducted an audit of supplies and records and found that none of the city's supplies were missing or tampered with. Responding to a tip, Pinellas County officers had arrived at a hospital parking lot around noon to find 184 prescriptions on the firefighter-paramedic, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
The painkillers allegedly found in his possession included:
Most of these are potent painkillers available only through prescription. Alprazolam treats anxiety, but if someone abuses the medication, it can induce euphoria.
In total, the suspect is staring down eight charges of possession of a controlled substance, and eight charges of sale of a controlled substance. As of last report, the accused was being held in Pinellas County Jail. The investigation into this case is still underway.
What charges could the defendant be up against?
While a sale of dealing drugs will be more severe than that of drug possession, the fact remains that simply possessing a certain amount of drugs could cause a defendant to face the higher charge of trafficking. Even so, a possession charge cannot be overlooked.
For possession of a controlled substance, the penalties could be for a felony in the third degree:
- Five years in prison, and
- A $5,000 fine
Sale of prescription drugs could also fall into the category of a third-degree felony offense. But in some cases, the charge will be one of a misdemeanor.
If the sale of controlled substances is charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties could include:
- 1 year in jail
- A $1,000 fine
If your freedom and future are being threatened by drug charges, call Thomas & Paulk, P.A. immediately. Start talking to our experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys in a free consultation to learn how you can protect your rights!