Monthly Archives :

July 2015

Central Florida Law Enforcement Agency Interested in Buying Hacking Team Technology

150 150 Joel Leppard

Hacker

Wikileaks, a website that posts original documents from anonymous sources, has recently leaked e-mails between the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and the Italian company Hacking Team that show the MBI’s desire to purchase spyware technology that would enable the agency to infiltrate phones and computers.

The MBI is a multi-agency task force in Orlando that covers Osceola and Orange counties and includes members from State Attorney’s Office, Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sherriff’s department as well as other local police agencies and the DEA, FBI, ICE, Secret Service and other agencies. Hacking Team is a company that uses computer viruses to help law enforcement and national security organizations gain access to targeted networks.

Ironically, Hacking Team itself has been hacked in the past. The hackers exposed documents on a Twitter page titled “Hacked Team” that showed evidence of the company working with numerous repressive governments such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, many of whom have been criticized by international human rights organizations for aggressively monitoring journalists and other freedom activists. This is alarming because it essentially means that the MBI is using tax payer money to associate itself with and support a company that provides support for terrorists.

The recently leaked documents between the MBI and Hacking Team show that the MBI wants to purchase spyware called Galileo from the company. Galileo, which can be installed on phones and computers, will allow law enforcement officials to see what a targeted suspect is seeing in real time. The police would also be able to track the suspect’s movements. MBI director Larry Zweig even told the Orlando Sentinel that the task force wants to be able to track drug and human trafficking organizations through apps like Snapchat.

The MBI’s collaboration with Hacking Team wouldn’t be the first time that the agency has tried to use questionable methods to obtain evidence of criminal activity. In 1981, the MBI arrested 10 men on charges of running a football gambling ring after wire tapping two phones. The agency, however, was only permitted to tap one phone as part of the investigation. Therefore, none of the defendants went to jail.

In another instance, the MBI enlisted an alleged drug dealer named Donna Jean Gallagher as an informant in 1985. She later claimed that “she stole cocaine during MBI investigations to feed a habit agents knew about but did nothing to stop, was gang-raped by drug dealers while working for the agency and had sex with two of her supervising agents.” The agents were consequently fired.

If the MBI uses Galileo in its investigations, the agency needs to make sure that it filters out information obtained from people who are not targets of the investigation. In doing so, the MBI would be violating Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets act of 1968. If the agency’s past transgressions say anything about the future of the MBI + Hacking Team partnership, however, it’s that there may be significant privacy concerns ahead.

Additional information:

This week, NPR 90.7 aired an interview Florida Center for Investigative Reporting reported Trevor Aaronson, who voices some of the concerns with providing MBI with this powerful technology. http://www.wmfe.org/fcir-leaked-documents-show-mbis-interest-in-surveillance-software/

Read the MBI and Hacking Team emails here:
https://wikileaks.org/hackingteam/emails/?q=randall+pennington&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0#searchresult

Drug Trafficking Mandatory Minimums

150 150 Joel Leppard

When it comes to drug trafficking charges, a person does not have to actually sell a drug in order to break Florida’s drug trafficking laws. Different drugs carry a different minimum mandatory prison sentence based on the weight of the drug. For example, possession of 1 gram or more of LSD can result in a >1 but less than 5 gram Trafficking in LSD charge.

Minimum mandatory prison sentences do not usually receive “gain time,” or a reduction in prison time for inmates who display satisfactory behavior , educational attainment or participate in other incentive programs. Click here for more information on types of gain time.  Cases involving drug trafficking charges, however, are entitled to gain time. This is because the court in Mastay v. McDonough, Florida Department of Corrections, 928 So. 2d 512 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006)held that drug trafficking charges are eligible for gain time, just  not discretionary release.

Drug trafficking offenses are taken very seriously, with mandatory minimum sentences that range from 3 years to 25 years in prison. If you are arrested for trafficking, it is crucial to contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney to represent and defend you in court.

The chart below shows the minimum mandatory sentences for trafficking in various drugs:

Offense
(Knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into
the state, or who is knowingly in actual
or constructive possession of:*)
Drug AmountMandatory Minimum Sentence & Fine
Cocaine28 - 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400 grams – 150
kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Marijuana25 - 2000 lbs or 300 - 2000 plants

2000 - 10,000 lbs or 2000 - 10,000 plants

10,000+ lbs. or 10,000
plants
3 years, $25,000 fine

7 years, $50,000 fine

15 years, $200,000 fine
GBL1-5 kilograms

5-10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Phencyclidine28 - 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Methaqualone200 grams – 5 kilograms

5 - 25 kilograms

25+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Amphetamine or methamphetamine14 – 28 grams

28 – 200 grams

200+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Flunitrazepam4 – 14 grams

14 – 28 grams

28 grams – 30 kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

25 years, $500,000 fine
GHB1 - 5 kilograms

5 - 10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Morphine, opium, oxycodone,
hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or any
salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an
isomer, including heroin
7 - 14 grams

14 - 25 grams

25 - 100 grams

100 grams - 30 kilograms

30+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine

25 years, $750,000 fine

life imprisonment without parole
LSD1- 5 grams

5 - 7 grams

7+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine
Phenethylamines10 – 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
1,4-Butandediol1 - 5 kilograms

5 – 10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine
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