SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County deputies said they have dismantled two major fentanyl and heroin distribution rings operating in the Central Florida area that resulted in 19 felony arrests.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma said during a news conference Thursday that his office worked with city police departments in Longwood, Sanford, Lake Mary and Geneva to break up two drug trafficking rings.
“These two groups were distributing approximately 750 baggies of heroin laced with fentanyl every day,” Lemma said. “We have saved lives by arresting these traffickers of illicit and deadly opioids.”
"Operation Sundown" was a five-month investigation.
The joint investigation included help from the Drug Enforcement Administration, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Seminole County SWAT Team, Volusia County Swat team and area police agencies.
Lemma said the drug ring was well organized. Among the confiscated items was a list made of up days with dealers names beside it.
"Much like you would go to work and you would have a supervisor create a work schedule for you on when you were there. When you were going to be there and when you were going to be responsible for. Their drug organizations were actually so sophisticated that they were creating a work schedule," Lemma said.
Lemma said it started from the top with two ring leaders.
The two, Lemma said, weren't working together or even knew one another, but had the same goal.
"The drugs would come into the primary guys homes. Those are the guys at the top of the list. They would then cut the drugs up. Probably mix them up inside the house as well and get it to the next tier down on that drug enterprises," Lemma said.
According to Lemma, the drugs were coming in from surrounding states and making their way primarily into Seminole County.
From there, they were distributed to areas like Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford and Geneva.
More than 22,000 packets of fentanyl-laced heroin were confiscated. Lemma said that was only one-months supply.
"There wasn't that significant amount to select because they were moving these drugs so quickly. As soon as they got it they were turning it back out on the street," Lemma said.
In addition to the well-organized rings, Lemma said the dealers even delivered and one even carried Narcan on him.
"Whether it was a convenience store parking lot or remote locations. Almost as if you were going to engage in a sale like Craigslist with somebody. a common location," Lemma said.
"Had somebody overdose. Got called. He administered the Narcan. The drug dealer administered the Narcan with very specific instructions. Don't call the paramedics. Don't call law enforcement. I've taken care of this."
More arrests are expected.
So far this year, 54 people have died in Seminole County due to drug overdoses, up from 34 for all of 2017, according to the Sheriff's Office.