81ºF

Flagler County investigation nets arrests, warrants for 18 'poison peddlers'

Fentanyl-laced heroin, oxycodone, bath salts, marijuana seized

BUNNELL, Fla. – It's time for spring cleaning in Flagler County.

Sheriff's Office investigators are issuing 18 felony arrest warrants on drug charges this week as part of a yearlong operation to clean up drug trafficking in the area.

Sheriff Rick Staly discussed Operation Spring Mix Wednesday at the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell.

"Spring Mix was an almost yearlong operation of poison peddlers in Flagler County ranging from heroin laced with fentanyl, to oxycodone, to bath salts and some marijuana or THC," Staly said of the undercover operation.

Investigators seized about $15,000 in drugs, according to the Sheriff's Office.

One of the suspects, Samantha Bovino, attempted to mail narcotics into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility nine times to an inmate between March 20 and April 13, 2018.

Suspects arrested or wanted in connection with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office undercover operation.
Suspects arrested or wanted in connection with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office undercover operation.

"Our jail staff did a phenomenal job checking our mail," the sheriff said. "Something didn't look right, (they) sent it to the lab."

Two suspects were known to frequent a homeless camp near the Flagler County Library, said Staly. Undercover deputies determined Tony Lanning and Gina Howard were selling synthetic stimulants, known as molly or bath salts, Sheriff's Office officials said.

Bath salts and other synthetic stimulants are considered the most dangerous, Staly said, because the drugs have the potential to leave users with severe psychological or physical dependence.

“Both Lanning’s and Howard’s illegal drug sales took place on the property of the transient camp and public library,” Staly said. “Through the investigations, our detectives confirmed allegations of drug sales being conducted at problematic areas inhabited by transients in what can only be described as an open-air drug market.”

Deputies are still actively seeking 10 of the 18 suspects with warrants for their arrest. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 386-437-4116.