The State Attorney’s Office announced that Joseph Alan Wagner, a Fort Walton Beach resident, faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison for trafficking heroin, among other charges.
FORT WALTON BEACH — A local man was convicted this week of trafficking heroin, tampering with physical evidence and resisting an officer without violence.
According to a press release from the State Attorney’s Office, Joseph Alan Wagner of Fort Walton Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 29.
The charges arose in February of 2018 when the Fort Walton Beach Police Department responded to the Holiday Inn Express, located at 522 Mary Esther Cutoff, after an anonymous tip conveyed that an individual there had an active arrest warrant.
Wagner’s wife slightly opened the door, where officers then detected the odor of marijuana from inside the room, the release said. Officers saw another man concealing himself behind the hotel room door.
Both the female and male were instructed to exit the hotel room. As the two individuals exited, an officer observed Wagner hiding in the bathroom behind the shower curtain. Multiple commands were given to him to exit from behind the shower curtain. He eventually complied, but refused multiple commands to face law enforcement and show his hands.
The release said that an officer saw Wagner drop a gray object into the toilet. While officers secured him, they saw a gray substance dissolving in the toilet, the release said.
After Wagner was secured in handcuffs and lifted to his feet, he pulled away from officers and tried to flush the toilet with his foot. He was unsuccessful and escorted out of the hotel room.
The State Attorney’s Office said that after the scene was secure, the gray substance was retrieved from the toilet bowl. It was sent to Florida Department of Law Enforcement for chemical analysis and tested positive for a mixture containing heroin that weighed 39.29 grams.
The jury returned its verdict on Oct. 29. Wagner faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years for trafficking heroin. He qualifies for habitual felony offender designation — a designation that carries a potential life sentence on the trafficking in heroin.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 7, 2020, the release said.