Crime

Miami trafficking charge for pot “dessert treats” goes up in smoke, dude

Albert Duran
Albert Duran Miami-Dade Corrections

Snap, crackle, pot — that’s the sound of the state’s case fizzling against a Coconut Grove man accused of trafficking marijuana baked into Rice Krispie treats.

Prosecutors on Thursday dropped the most serious of several charges against Albert Duran after his lawyers argued that the actual amount of pot in 437 “Wake Bake Crispy Treats” found in his home was minimal compared to the other ingredients of cereal, butter, marshmallows and sugar.

The conclusion: The pot fell far below the 25-pound mark needed to support a felony charge of marijuana trafficking.

“Right from the arrest, we argued that the allegation of armed trafficking could not be supported by either the facts or the law,” said his defense lawyer, Jude Faccidomo.

The sale of edible pot products has become an increasingly lucrative business — mostly in Colorado, where recreational marijuana became legal last year. Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., have since followed suit. But pot, including baked into packaged “dessert treats,” remains illegal in Florida.

While Miami-Dade prosecutors declined to pursue the most serious felony, Duran, 27, still faces other charges: possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a home with intent to manufacture narcotics.

He is awaiting trial while out of jail on a $10,000 bond. His girlfriend, Aileen Martinez, also was arrested but prosecutors declined to pursue any charges against her.

Miami-Dade police raided Duran’s Coconut Grove house in January after an anonymous informant tipped them off to the marijuana being peddled there.

According to an arrest report by Detective Luis Sosa, police ultimately seized a .38 caliber pistol, 113 grams of marijuana, 30 pieces of “hard candy” and five boxes containing hundreds of “dessert treats” stashed inside a bedroom closet.

Authorities could never prove the weapon, locked in a closet safe, was ever used as part of any drug activity.

At the time, detectives recorded the Rice Krispie treats as weighing about 48 pounds. That would have been more than enough to merit a charge of armed marijuana trafficking, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison.

But the defense mounted an argument that sent that charge up in smoke.

In Florida, police looking to charge trafficking can tabulate the weight of drugs such as cocaine and heroin even if they have been mixed with other substances. That’s not the case with marijuana — the term “mixture” is notably absent from the law, Faccidomo told a judge during a hearing last month.

“The detectives in this case have improperly weighed the total amount of the ‘treats’ so as to dubiously support a charge of trafficking,” the defense wrote in a motion to the court.

Duran’s defense team estimated the total weight of all the drugs found at the house amounted to less than four pounds.

Where the treats came from remains unknown. They were professionally packaged, labeled with nutritional facts and a sunrise logo. One photo showed the name: “Wake Bake Crispy Treats” with a strawberry flavor and “150 mg THC” — the active ingredient of marijuana.

Last month, Colorado began requiring similar packaging of marijuana edibles following numerous cases that emerged of unsuspecting consumers becoming ill after consuming the products.

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