POLK COUNTY, Fla. — 47 suspects have been charged in an undercover methamphetamine trafficking investigation in Polk County.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said during their "Operation Meth Death Peddlers" investigation they discovered that meth was being delivered to Polk County after being brought in from Mexico to California. They said the meth was also being delivered to Texas, Georgia and South Carolina.
Their investigation led to 44 arrests, three warrants, and the seizure of 50 pounds of meth, currency and firearms.
Detectives said of the 47 suspects charged, nine are in the U.S. illegally and now being held on ICE holds in the Polk County Jail. One of the suspects had a Polk County warrant for his arrest and has been departed back to Mexico.
"These drug traffickers and drug dealers are what some in the Florida legislature refer to as low-level, non-violent drug offenders.' Some politicians want to release drug traffickers early from prison, lower their sentences, or avoid putting them in prison all together. But make no mistake: everything about Meth is violent and destructive. It destroys lives, ruins families, and kills people. Meth equals death. If meth doesn't kill you outright, it relentlessly kills you over time. These drug dealers have blood on their hands. They make money off of the misery of others. They use violence as a means to enforce their business rules. Everything about what they do is violent to our communities and our quality of life. The next time a politician tells you that that trafficking in meth, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, and other illegal street drugs is non-violent, low-level crime, tell them they are not operating in the realm of reality." — Sheriff Grady Judd
Collectively, the suspects have been:
- Charged with 85 felonies and 50 misdemeanors
- Previously arrested and charged with a total of 392 felonies and 325 misdemeanors
- Previously convicted of a total of 94 felonies and 142 misdemeanors
"While this drug trafficking ring was difficult to infiltrate and there were multiple offenders, the persistence of detectives and agents was unrelenting. Thanks to the tremendous work of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, our various partners and our agents, we've sent a message to traffickers that drugs won't be tolerated in our back yard." — FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen
Sheriff Grady Judd, along with officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, other local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Border Patrol, is expected to release more information during an 11 a.m. press conference.