A Florida man was charged with drug possession and multiple counts of narcotics trafficking after heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and other controlled substances were allegedly discovered in a North Naples motel room that he was using. The 37-year-old East Naples resident was taken into custody on July 15 by Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies and transported to the agency’s Naples Jail Center.
The events that led to the man’s arrest began when CCSO deputies stopped his vehicle on U.S. Route 41 in Naples outside the hotel he was staying at. During the traffic stop, deputies say that they found an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine and discovered that the man’s driver’s license was invalid. Initial reports do not indicate if deputies conducted a search or the alleged methamphetamine was in plain sight. Matters went from bad to worse for the man when hotel management asked deputies to help them evict him from their establishment.
While the man was packing his belongings, deputies claim to have noticed several plastic bags filled with substances they believed to be illegal drugs. Deputies then used a portable chemical kit to test the substances. Deputies say that they obtained a search warrant after the field test identified the substance in one of the bags as amphetamine. During the search, deputies allegedly found more than 166 grams of heroin, about 60 grams of fentanyl, approximately 414 grams of methamphetamine, and 139 grams of powder cocaine.
The portable kits police officers use to perform field tests on suspicious substances are known to be highly unreliable. When their clients face drug charges based on the results of one of these tests, experienced criminal defense attorneys may call for more thorough testing at a crime lab. Attorneys could also argue that the results of such a test alone does not provide police with sufficient probable cause to obtain a search warrant.