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Florida raids lead to drug charges

Florida police carried out a number of arrests in West Volusia County on March 13, 2018, capturing 21 people wanted on drug charges. There are three warrants that remain outstanding. The arrests came as part of a 10-month investigation, Operation Heavyweight, into heroin trafficking in the county, and it involved a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Volusia Bureau of Investigation and Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Police simultaneously served arrest and search warrants at three locations in Deltona and DeBary as well as a simultaneous raid in Orlando. One person, a 43-year-old man, who was arrested in Deltona, was labeled a "ringleader" by police while another man arrested in Orlando was accused of supplying the drugs allegedly distributed by the people arrested. During the raids, police say that they confiscated approximately $150,000 worth of drugs, calling it one of the most significant seizures to take place in the area. They say that they seized 3.3 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, a firearm and an undisclosed quantity of cash.

The surveillance operation began following increased attention on heroin and fentanyl as the nationwide opiate crisis affected the area. Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that can be used to cut heroin to increase its potency. Many local dealers are unaware of the amount of fentanyl that could be in the heroin they sell. Police said that there were 109 fatal overdoses in the county in 2016 and that of those deaths, 78 of them were caused by opioid drugs.

Florida police and prosecutors are well-known for their aggressive approach to drug charges and prosecution. People arrested for drug crimes could face a felony criminal record and prison time even for a first offense. A criminal defense lawyer can help provide a strong defense before and during a trial for people accused of drug crimes, including challenging police evidence and conduct.

Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Deputies bust 21 in W. Volusia heroin raid," Suzanne Hirt, March 13, 2008

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