A multi-agency task force says that it has shut down a major heroin and fentanyl trafficking operation in Central Florida. A yearlong investigation came to fruition when police conducted several drug raids and took 10 people into custody according to a Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation representative. The arrests were announced during a Sept. 17 press conference. The MBI were assisted in the investigation by agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Volusia Bureau of Investigation.
Authorities believe that the group distributed between five and six kilograms of heroin and fentanyl each week in the Orange County area. The narcotics, which police believe may have been supplied by a Mexican drug cartel, were allegedly concealed in vehicles to avoid detection. The investigation began when authorities received an anonymous tip about a 30-year-old man involved in the local drug trade. It ended with the arrest of the man along with three of his relatives and the alleged seizure of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine worth several million dollars.
Police say that one suspect remains at large. The 38-year-old man, who authorities say is in the United States illegally, may be attempting to escape the country and return to Mexico, according to police. The 10 suspects taken into custody face decades of incarceration on a raft of felony drug trafficking, conspiracy and firearms charges.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may approach cases involving felony drug crimes with urgency when several defendants face serious charges. The prospect of severe penalties can test even the deepest of loyalties, and prosecutors often encourage defendants to cooperate by offering to reduce them. Defense attorneys may recommend that their clients take advantage of these offers quickly as they tend to be withdrawn when prosecutors obtain the information they seek.
Source: The Orlando Sentinel, "Central Florida drug trafficking bust nets 10 arrests", Tess Sheets, Sept. 17, 2018