Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Drug abuse destroys lives, divides families and jeopardizes the safety of our communities. As Florida’s Attorney General and a former state prosecutor I have seen the destruction it causes firsthand. I have also seen families reunited and lives changed with the help of good people who stand up to fight against drug abuse and addiction.
This week, I was humbled to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Drug Free America Foundation for the small role I’ve played in fighting drug abuse. We have a lot of great partners in this fight, and Florida exemplifies how local, state and federal law enforcement can work in harmony to stop drug traffickers.
My office has worked with these great law enforcement partners in recent weeks on cases resulting in 25-year prison sentences for drug dealers trafficking dangerous opioids in Florida. This weekend we are asking for your help in combating the national opioid crisis by participating in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
People struggling with addiction will do anything to get their hands on deadly drugs in search of a quick high––even going as far as rummaging through a relative’s medicine cabinet. This Saturday, Floridians can safely dispose of unused prescriptions at take-back locations throughout the state.
Take-back locations can be found, here.
I always say if we can save just one life then what we do is worthwhile, because that one life—is somebody’s son or daughter. They are a mother, an uncle, somebody’s best friend. I believe every life matters, and this fight is righteous.
Florida Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Human Trafficking and Branding
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution secured a prison sentence for a man convicted of human trafficking and branding a victim. Friday, a Marion County Judge sentenced Ryan Gemelle Polle, 33, to 30 years in state prison. The sentence comes after the jury found Poole guilty of human trafficking, deriving support from prostitution, unlawful use of a two-way communications device to facilitate a felony, sexual battery and branding. This is Florida’s first conviction under the state’s branding statute.
“This disgusting human trafficker branded his victim, raped and forced her to perform sex acts. We will not allow this evil to persist in Florida, and today’s sentencing serves as a strong warning to anyone trying to enslave and traffic people in our state,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I want to thank my Statewide Prosecutors Julie Sercus and Rita Peters for their resolve and determination to ensure this monster did not escape justice.” More.
Attorney General Bondi Files Lawsuit Against Roofing Company
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office filed a complaint against Carlson Enterprises, LLC., a Jacksonville construction company, for allegedly taking money from Florida consumers for roofing repair work and then failing to fix the roofs. The company had active offices in Daytona, Orlando and Tampa. The Attorney General’s Office received more than 70 complaints alleging that the company engaged in deceptive practices over the past few years, including taking advantage of some customers post Hurricane Irma.
“Carlson Enterprises took advantage of Florida homeowners, including many who were trying to pick up the pieces following the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Taking thousands of dollars from consumers for repairs that they fail to make is inexcusable and my Consumer Protection Division will hold the company accountable.” More.
6,865 Previously Untested Sexual Assault Kits Processed
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the testing of thousands previously unprocessed sexual assault kits. According to the latest Sexual Assault Kit Progress Report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 6,865 backlogged kits have been tested so far. State and private labs are testing the kits as part of an ongoing effort to process thousands of previously untested kits.
“I am thrilled with the progress Florida is making to eliminate the backlog of previously untested sexual assault kits,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I am proud of the work we are doing to stand up for victims of this horrendous crime. By testing these kits, we hope to bring some closure and healing to survivors.”
The state legislature approved initial funding to eliminate the backlog during Florida’s 2016 Legislative Session. During the session, Attorney General Bondi worked with law enforcement, prosecutors, victims and state lawmakers to secure $2.3 million for testing, and additional funding to raise the wages of lab analysts to reduce turnover, purchase new forensic testing equipment and upgrade existing lab equipment.
Attorney General Bondi also supported legislation to help expedite the testing of all DNA evidence, including sexual assault kits. Now, Florida law requires all newly collected kits to be processed within 120 days of receipt. According to the latest report, FDLE has a 99.9 percent compliance rate with an average turnaround time of 86 days for newly received kits.
To view the latest report click, here.
Attorney General Pam Bondi accepting the award for Lifetime Achievement at the Drug Free America Foundation annual gala.
Attorney General Bondi thanks Executive Director of the Drug Free America Foundation, Calvina Fay, for service of the board and commitment to the foundation. The Attorney General wishes Calvina a wonderful retirement.
Attorney General Bondi wants to thank Ambassador Mel Sembler and wife, Drug Free America Foundation Founder, Betty Sembler for their tireless efforts to fight drug addiction and save lives.
Attorney General Bondi recognizing her Consumer Protection Division Director Victoria Butler for 20 years of dedicated service to protecting Florida's consumers.