A Palm Beach deputy has resigned after she and her husband were caught with 16 lbs. of marijuana in their home. According to an internal affairs memo, Marquita Perez, 35, resigned in February. She had been an employee of the PBSO jail system for six years.
In July of 2017, drug police found more than 16 lbs of marijuana in the couple’s home.
Whose Pot is it, Anyway?
One thing about law enforcement is that they know how to protect their defenses. Marquita Perez told police that the marijuana belonged to her husband, Bobby Perez, and that she knew nothing about it. This is important because in order to “possess” a controlled substance, an individual has to be aware of the controlled substance.
At this point, the police and prosecutors would look for any evidence that Marquita Perez knew about the operation or should have known about the operation but deliberately ignored it. An agent reported that he found a freeze-bag sealer with no sealed foods anywhere. They also found rooms with suitcases filled with marijuana. The officers stated that they found the former COs story less than credulous.
Additionally, they found her DNA on some of the freeze bags.
Perez was placed on administrative leave after the raid uncovered the drugs. Her husband was sentenced to a year behind bars and four years probation. He pleaded guilty of marijuana possession with the intent to sell and using a property for the purposes of drug trafficking. He was out of jail by March of 2019.
Martiza pleaded guilty to the charges using an Alford plea. An Alford Plea (also known as a best interests plea) is when a defendant pleads guilty to a crime, but without admitting that they are guilty of the crime. Instead, they say that the state has enough evidence to prosecute them, and it’s in their best interests to take the plea deal, even though they did not commit a crime. She pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of paraphernalia possession. She was sentenced to two days in jail, or time served.
An attorney for Marquita Perez said that she advised her client not to take the plea and, in fact, believed that their defense was strong enough to win at trial. Perez now operates a cosmetology business and is part owner of a daycare center.
Actual vs. Constructive Possession
Let’s say that you’re pulled over with three of your friends. One of your friends has a bag of weed on them. This friend decides to deposit the weed underneath the seat where it is spotted by a police officer. The police officer asks whose pot it is, and no one answered. They then proceed to charge all of the people in the vehicle with possession.
This is called constructive possession because the police don’t need to prove who owned the drugs, they only need to show that the driver permitted the drugs to be in the vehicle. The driver can always say that they didn’t know about the drugs, but they can still be charged.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges in Florida for drug possession, there may be several ways to get the charges dismissed, dropped, or reduced. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can help.