In late August, Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducted a series of drug raids across Florida, resulting in the arrests of almost 300 people. The raids, which were dubbed "Operation Cazador," targeted doctors and pharmacies that allegedly played a role in America's opioid crisis.
According to the DEA, agents seized around 600 pounds of illegal drugs, including over 200,000 opioid pills, during the operation. They also confiscated 35 weapons and assets totaling around $3.3 million. One of those arrested in the raids was a pharmacist who was allegedly dealing opioids out of her pharmacy in Ormond Beach. She was already awaiting trial on similar charges and had lost her license. Another of those arrested was the manager of a Winter Garden convenience store who was allegedly operating a heroin and cocaine ring on the property. Drugs from the store have been tied to several overdose deaths.
The country's opioid crisis is hitting Florida especially hard. Opioid-related deaths in the state are higher than the national average, and some counties are suffering staggering death rates. According to the DEA, opioids also place law enforcement agents at great risk. For example, being exposed to minuscule amounts of fentanyl during a raid can shut down an officer's breathing in less than one minute.
Defendants who are convicted of drug charges could be sentenced to years in prison and assessed heavy fines. They could also lose their professional licenses and certain assets. A criminal defense attorney may protect a defendant's rights and work to obtain a more positive outcome on his or her behalf. For example, the attorney might be able to successfully challenge the prosecution's evidence, which could cause the charges to be dismissed. It may also be possible for legal counsel to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges and leads to a lighter sentence.