Major Florida Drug Bust: 11 Arrested, Seizure of Massive Amount of Fentanyl Enough to Kill 1.7 Mln Shows Scale

14 kilograms of cocaine, Heroin and Firearms also recovered.

In a major joint effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies, 11 individuals have been arrested in Florida, USA with a staggering amount of fentanyl, potent enough to cause harm to over 1.7 million people. The investigation was led by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

fentanyl racket busted

Collaborating with federal, state, and local law enforcement, Judd's office targeted two significant drug trafficking rings operating in Central Florida. Identified as the Colon-Colon Drug Trafficking Organization and the Espinoza & Romero Central Florida Drug Trafficking Organization, these groups were at the center of the investigation.

"We're fighting a battle that we've got to win," emphasized Sheriff Judd during a press conference on Tuesday. He highlighted the deadly impact of fentanyl, stating that it has claimed thousands of lives across the country.

The operation led to the seizure of 14 kilograms of cocaine, 3.5 kilograms of bulk fentanyl, and fentanyl pills. Additionally, authorities confiscated four firearms, a vehicle, and $12,985 in U.S. currency, according to a news release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office (PCSO).

All 11 individuals arrested, comprising 10 men and one woman, are legal residents of the United States, with the majority having Puerto Rican descent. Many of the suspects have a history of criminal activities.

The PCSO disclosed that the investigation involved arrangements to purchase a kilogram of cocaine from Pedro "Bemba" Romero in Haines City in November 2023. Romero, accompanied by his drug supplier, 44-year-old Maximo Espinosa of Kissimmee, was revealed to be operating a drug trafficking organization spanning the northeast U.S., South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. This network trafficked in cocaine and fentanyl, with Espinosa having previous arrests by federal authorities for armed trafficking of heroin, according to PCSO.

The State Financial Assistance for Fentanyl Eradication (SAFE) program, managed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, played a crucial role in the investigation. The program, established by the Florida Legislature last year, provides funding to combat illegal fentanyl trafficking.

Sheriff Judd underscored the destructive impact of these drug traffickers on lives, families, and communities, emphasizing the connection between these illegal substances and violence and misery in society.