Florida attorney accused of soaking papers with cocaine to bring to inmates

Florida attorney accused of soaking papers with cocaine to bring to inmates

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A South Florida attorney is accused of trying to smuggle cocaine into a county jail using papers disguised as legal documents, authorities said.

David Allen Casals, 55, of West Palm Beach, was charged with a first-degree felony charge of trafficking cocaine, a second-degree felony charge of delivery of cocaine and a third-degree felony charge of introduction of contraband into a county facility, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

Casals, who turned himself in to authorities on Friday, faces a maximum sentence of up to 50 years if convicted of all three charges, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Casals posted $58,000 bail later Friday, WFOR-TV reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, Casals attempted to bring documents “saturated” with cocaine into the Palm Beach County Jail, WPEC-TV reported.

On Oct. 24, Casals was checking in as a visitor at the jail, and a deputy began to search the items he had with him, according to a probable cause affidavit. The deputy inspected a manila folder that contained 37 pieces of paper “with bible quotes and pictures of an unknown woman” on them, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

According to an arrest affidavit, the deputy noticed the papers were hidden under a cover sheet that “attempted to disguise the papers as a transcription translation” of an audio file for an inmate from Spanish to English. The deputy noticed stains from a see-through substance that resembled watermarks, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The papers were taken and tested, and a report from the sheriff’s office’s forensic scientist on Nov. 1 revealed that two pieces of paper were positive for cocaine, the newspaper reported. Those two pages contained 9.9 grams of cocaine, and four more pages tested over the next few days brought the total amount of cocaine to 29.5 grams, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Testing of all of the pages showed a positive result of cocaine with a weight of over 136 grams, the chemist noting that the papers were “saturated with cocaine,” according to the newspaper. Nine of the papers tested were found to have no trace of controlled substances.

Attorney Doug Rudman told WPTV-TV that upon entering the jail, attorneys must present their bar card and a valid driver’s license.

“Because of the attorney-client relationship, you are given the opportunity to be able to visit with your client face-to-face, strategize face-to-face, review face-to-face,” Rudman told the television station. “No doubt the Palm Beach County jail is going to be looking at and revisiting its policies and procedures.”

According to his profile on the Florida Bar website, Casals, whose main office is in Fort Lauderdale, has been practicing law since July 2000.

Casals’ attorney, Michael Salnick, told WPTV that his client is pleading not guilty to the charges.


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