CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — Citrus County law enforcement announced the results of Operation “Deck the Cells” Monday saying it resulted in two dozen arrests on multiple narcotics charges, including drug trafficking.
According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, 26 warrants were issued for 25 local subjects as the operation concluded on Friday. The sheriff’s office, working with officials from the ATF, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Marshals Service, served the warrants over two days.
The warrants yielded the arrests of 24 men and women in the county and led authorities to seize more than 319 grams of methamphetamine, 44 grams of Fentanyl, and 45 grams of cocaine with a total street value of more than $18,000.
Citrus County has seen 341 overdoses this year, 81 resulting in death. That's almost 30 more than all of last year. Fentanyl has been the drug responsible more many of the overdoses.
“They think they are buying heroin. They think they are buying crack cocaine or methamphetamines. And low and behold something else has been stepped on and they are throwing fentanyl on there so they can get the eutrophic high and it leads to the deadly consequences," said Sheriff Mike Prendergast.
Sheriff Prendergast continued, "In a community of our size of 150-plus thousand, it’s staggering to deal with the effects of that. And it takes a toll on the community. It also takes a toll on the families that these people who are dying from these illegal drugs. Their families will never be the same."
According to the sheriff’s office, many of those arrested were no strangers to law enforcement. The 24 arrested had already seen 117 prior felony convictions.
"Some of them are very high-level dealers,” Prendergast said.
The sheriff said much of the fentanyl is coming across the border from Mexico and working its way to Florida across the I-10 corridor.