Lawyer in Florida Faces Charges After Allegedly Smuggling Cocaine Saturated Papers to Inmates
A South Florida defense attorney, 56, was arrested for attempting to smuggle documents, saturated in cocaine, disguised as legal documents into the county jail.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office charged David Casals with three felonies: cocaine trafficking, cocaine distribution, and bringing contraband into a county facility.
Suspect Says Families Ask Lawyer to Give Documents to Inmates
Although not involved in Casals' case, Defense attorney Adam Farkas acknowledges he is aware of a broad investigation by the sheriff's office into other defense attorneys accused of sending drug-soaked paperwork to clients in prison.
But, as Farkas points out, the claims aren't so simple. He explains that lawyers transport mail and other documents from prisoners' families and friends to their clients in prison regularly. Those attorneys may not be aware of the documents contain contraband.
On October 24, Casals was checking in as a visitor at the jail.
According to a probable cause affidavit, a deputy began to search the items he had with him as the deputy noticed the papers were concealed under a cover of an audio file for an inmate.
As the deputy looked at the "swollen" pages, she noticed stains from a see-through substance that resembled watermarks.
Another detective inspected the documents and noted that each page appeared to be water-stained and dried up. The detective tested a page for synthetic cannabinoids by turning the page a yellow-brown tint, revealing the presence of a combination of cannabinoids, the affidavit says.
The two pieces of paper tested positive for cocaine with a weight of 9.9 grams, according to a report from a Sheriff's Office forensic scientist received on November 1.
A few days later, four additional pages were examined, bringing the total weight of the six pages tested to 29.5 grams.
Defense Attorney Faces Possible 50 Years in Prison
Casals faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison if convicted on all three felonies. He turned himself in to authorities Friday and posted $58,000 bail, CBS 12 reported.
Casals' lawyer, Michael Salnick, stated that Casal is simply turning himself in and being bonded out, but that they will plead not guilty.
Meanwhile, detectives have interviewed inmates about drugs being brought into the jail over the last year. Inmates indicated that in the past, multiple corrections deputies would bring in drugs. But after several corrections deputies were arrested for smuggling in drugs, attorneys have begun to smuggle in contraband "by a method of disguising the drugs onto documents."
The detainees added that the attorneys are aware that the papers they are bringing contain narcotics and are paid by the convicts to bring the documents in.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office enforced stricter security measures to catch more contraband before it reaches prisoners. A spokesperson declined to say what those additional measures were, citing security concerns.
One of the several defense lawyers who regularly visit the jail, Atty. Patrick McKamey, is concerned that tighter security may unfairly target lawyers and the people they must defend under the law.
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: Defense attorney accused of smuggling cocaine into Palm Beach County jail - WPTV News
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