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Drug War Snapshot: Volusia County, Florida

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #742)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Volusia County, Florida, situated midway up the state's Atlantic Coast, has just under half a million people, and if its July 6 county jail bookings are any indication, it has one heck of a drug problem -- or is it an elective policing problem?

Volusia County Courthouse (
Of the 67 people booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on the Friday after the 4th of July, only seven were charged with violent crimes, while people charged with drug offenses made up more than half of all bookings. At least 35 people were charged with drug offenses, mostly small-time trafficking, while three more were charged with drug possession while arrested for another crime.

The most common drug charges were sale of cocaine (11), followed by sale/trafficking in controlled substances (10), violation of drug court rules (4), possession of a controlled substance (3), and possession of cocaine (2). The day also saw single counts of possession of meth, sale of meth, manufacture of meth, sale of marijuana, and possession of marijuana.

Six people were arrested on unspecified probation violation or failure to appear charges. Some unknown portion of those were likely originally arrested on drug charges.

Only three people arrested on drug charges were also arresting on other criminal charges at the same time, one for burglary and drug possession, one for solicitation to commit prostitution and drug possession, and one for hindering a firefighter and drug possession. While drug use could be a factor in other charges filed, such as the five accused burglars below, they apparently weren't carrying drugs when committing those crimes.

Of the 23 people charged with other than drug offenses, only seven were charged with crimes of violence. Four faced charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one was charged with strong-arm robbery, one with robbery by assault, and one with intimidating a witness.

Three people were charges with status offenses -- acts that would not be a crime except for their having previous criminal convictions. One was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and two with felon in possession of a firearm.

The most common non-drug charge was burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, with five people being booked into the jail on that charge. The remaining eight people were charged with offenses ranging from solicitation to commit prostitution to child neglect and child porn possession to possession of counterfeit notes, fleeing and eluding, and grand theft.

Last Friday in Volusia County, prosecuting the drug war took up more than half of the county's law enforcement, prosecutorial, judicial, and correctional resources. The decisions about how to allocate law enforcement resources (or whether to even reduce them given the paucity of non-drug crimes) is something the good people of Volusia may want to ponder.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


ozziebirons (not verified)

Since 2002, has received $54,800.00 in contributions from CCA and the GEO group - the 2 biggest corporate prison corporations. Charlie Crist has served as both attorney general and governor of Florida. Need I say more? Why do you think this is going on in Florida?


Sun, 07/08/2012 - 8:09pm Permalink
Former Volusia… (not verified)

In reply to by ozziebirons (not verified)

Former Governor Christ has been out of office for almost two years. The crime and problems going on now are not the results of our former governor, problems were here before his term. I hope he runs for governor again, as the current governor has not done anything he promised, all he wants to do is drug test everyone. This is the problem when the people of Florida voted for the "businessman", Gov. Scott is now all mad because the FDLE did not find three of the states federal judges in violation of the charges by the governor earlier, these are the same judges that found Scott's drug testing of welfare recipients and his E.O to random test state workers to be unconstitutional.     

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 2:43pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

How hard could it be to stick a minor drug charge on someone in Daytona ? Easy work and easy money . Volusia County is not the only ones .

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 11:55pm Permalink
Jimpalmbeach (not verified)

Make no mistake about it. Nothing corrupts a police department faster than a drug war. This includes 
 alcohol. When ever there is an illegal activity like this there is huge amount of unrecorded money involved. When ever there is an arrest there is a pile of money that just disappears. The real crooks involved with the drug war are the police doing the blatant robberies.

Tue, 07/10/2012 - 12:16am Permalink
Former Volusia… (not verified)

I live near Daytona, in Flagler Co. and lived in Daytona nearly thirty years before moving. Volusia Co has a major crime issue- period, Daytona, has the highest crime in the county, Daytona Police Chief Chitwood is tough on all crime. I do not believe the DBPD is corrupt and if there is an issue within the department, the Chief is as tough on corrupt cops, just as he is with other offenders.


However the city, and the county began putting pressure on the pill mills, a group of Doctors were arrested as well as others recently, as prescription drug abuse has become a high priority, and meth labs are getting busted all the time. So, yes, there is ' one heck of a drug problem' here, but I do not believe it is an elective policing problem, it is a crime problem. What a lot of people don't know is the city of Deltona in Volusia County is the second largest city in central Florida. Don't be fooled by this article, there is a lot of violent crime as well.    

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 2:31pm Permalink

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