Charles L. Truncale
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City commission candidate accused of cocaine trafficking

A 29-year-old Florida man who was running for the Sweetwater City Commission was taken into custody Nov. 2 on suspicion of cocaine trafficking. Two other individuals were also detained in connection with the investigation. The candidate had a previous criminal record and had been arrested twice previously for suspicion of marijuana trafficking.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents received confidential information from an unnamed source claiming the candidate's alleged involvement with the drugs. The agents then worked with Drug Enforcement Administration federal agents and officers from the Sweetwater Police Department. The officers raided the man's home where the drugs were found. Police allege that he was using a police two-way radio and his home to run the drug operation. Officers commented that the number of cocaine-related deaths in Florida has increased over the past several years. Removing the drugs from the streets to keep residents safe is a top concern of the police.

The candidate was taken to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center where he was processed outside of the general population due to his running for office. He had previously run for office in the past and lost the campaign.

Drug charges are a serious offense in Florida that may be punishable with prison terms and hefty fines. In most cases, the drugs themselves are the primary evidence that the prosecution uses to press charges. Without the drugs, there may not be enough to build a case. Because the Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizures, it's important that law enforcement officers obtain the correct warrant in order to legally seize the drugs. In this situation, if the drugs were seized from the candidate's home without the proper search warrant, the evidence may be inadmissible in court and the case could be dropped.

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