DEA arrests 10 in Orlando heroin bust

ORLANDO, Fla. – Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced the takedown of a "significant" heroin organization operating in the middle of an Orlando neighborhood.

Agents arrested 10 people in the bust Tuesday as part of what they called "Operation Deals on Wheels."

Three of those arrested were selling heroin out of a home in the eastern section of the city, agents say.

Ruth Perez-Lopez, 74, who is bound to a wheelchair, is considered by agents as the matriarch of the organization, which was peddling as many as two kilos of heroin per month and generating as much as $300,000 per month, according to agents.

"It's scary," said DEA spokesman Jeff Walsh.  "It's scary to the neighbors because you just don't know what's going on next-door.  I think they had their suspicions."
Others arrested as part of the bust include: Wilfredo Torres-Reyes, Angel Contreras-Lozada, Rolando Gomez-Arroyo, Henry Thomas, Miguel Ortiz-Ortiz, Eddie Guerrido, Chris Garrido, Richard "Ricky" Miranda and Jose Merejo.

"It's very unsettling. You have an elderly lady, and I'm sure if you met her she would seem very nice and all, but she was in the house with loaded weapons and wheelchair-bound," said Walsh.  "A little unsuspecting, but she's a significant player in this."

All of them were taken to the Orange County Jail, but they will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General of Florida, according to agents.

DEA agents also seized guns and ammunition as part of the raid on Bowmaster Court.

They told News 6 the guns were for protection against law enforcement and also for protection against rival drug dealers.

Investigators say the bulk of the heroin came from Colombia.

Perez-Lopez's bond at the Orange County Jail was set at more than $600,000, and if she somehow finds the money to post bond, she will have to prove to a judge that it didn't come from the proceeds of selling drugs.

Agents told News 6 they were also searching for two others connected to this heroin ring.  They would not disclose their identity.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.