A major undercover investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in Florida has led to charges being filed against 47 individuals according to an announcement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to taking 44 suspects into custody and obtaining arrest warrants for three more, investigators from the PCSO, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the United States Border Patrol reportedly seized about 50 pounds of methamphetamine, several guns and an undisclosed amount of cash during the investigation.
According to media accounts, investigators discovered that large quantities of methamphetamine were being transported from Mexico to Polk County and locations in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. The individuals taken into custody face a total of 85 felony and 50 misdemeanor counts. Nine of the suspects are alleged to be in the United States without authorization and are being detained at the Polk County Jail on holds from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The investigation, which was dubbed “Operation Meth Death Peddlers,” was launched when law enforcement received a tip about a 45-year-old man who was allegedly smuggling large amounts of drugs into the United States from Mexico and distributing them throughout the South. The man was taken into custody on April 10 and is also being detained on an ICE hold.
When a major investigation leads to a large number of arrests, criminal defense attorneys might advise those taken into custody to seek a negotiated plea agreement sooner rather than later if the evidence against them is compelling. This is because prosecutors will generally make more generous plea offers when they are still building their cases and could be less willing to reduce drug charges or penalties when they believe that they already have enough to proceed to trial.
Source: WFLA, 47 charged in undercover meth trafficking investigation in Polk County, Staff report, April 24, 2019