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24 May 2017

Another Conspiracy to Racketeer Put to Rest

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“Cowboy” was arrested on 9/10/15 in Okeechobee County on a capias charging conspiracy to commit racketeering. The long lasting drama would finally end on 5/22/17 when the charge was nolle prossed by the State.

The State theorized that Cowboy had conspired with a racketeering organization, because he had supposedly purchased an “eight ball” (about 3-1/2 grams) of methamphetamine from Jetta Frake on or about 3/29/15. Jetta was subsequently prosecuted in federal court for meth conspiracy involving 14 other people. Jetta went to federal prison, as did all the others charged in federal court, including Steven Oakes. See U.S. v. Steven Lee Oakes, et al, Case No. 2015-CR-14046MARTINEZ (So. Dist. of Fla.).

The State prosecutors theorized that the Steven Oakes conspiracy met the requirements of RICO. That assumption seems fair enough. However, the State further theorized that each customer of the RICO organization became a member simply by purchasing small amounts of drugs.

Port Saint Lucie Racketeering Attorney Jeffrey Garland

Attorney Jeffrey Garland, on behalf of Cowboy, disputed this assumption. Cowboy was ready to go to trial based on the defense that simple purchase of drugs for personal use does not establish the “agreement” necessary for a conspiracy to commit racketeering.
The defense argument boiled down to a simple observation that business customers do not obtain an ownership interest just by patronizing the business. Imagine if Wal-Mart customers could claim an ownership interest just because they buy TVs or underwear!

After some 17 months, the State finally dropped the charge on 5/22/17.

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