ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Police Department discussed Friday morning a nine-month investigation dubbed “Operation Good Call” that resulted in the arrests of 53 fentanyl dealers.
The department said the operation was conducted by its Special Enforcement Division’s Overdose Unit, who is involved in the tracking of suppliers and arresting each dealer, according to Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón.
“They respond to any overdose that takes place here in the city of Orlando. These cases before were merely some that we would document because really there wasn’t much that you could work on,” he said during a news conference. “They took to another level.”
According to the announcement, the operation resulted in 50 bags of fentanyl were seized from one arrest and two first-degree murder grand jury indictments for two of the arrests.
Rolón said every dose sold or given to someone, “you’re literally, literally potentially having someone who may be at a risk of losing their lives.”
He said this operation was able to accomplish removing dealers from the community and potentially “saved thousands of lives in the process.” Police said detectives in the unit were able to arrest the dealers after making “many phone calls” to buy fentanyl.
Sergeant Stephen Marra, supervisor of the new overdose unit, said nine of the 53 arrests stemmed from overdose deaths and eight of the 53 came after authorities responded to overdoses and were able to save those people.
Marra said what’s unique about the operation is the detectives called the suspects themselves and set up the deal and made the arrest.
“We call the operation, ‘Operation Good Call,’ because when the detectives would get a phone number and they would call one of these dealers, as soon as they had the dealer agreeing to a fentanyl transaction they then said OK we have a good call and these men suited up and we went out there to try and make the arrest,” he said.
Marra said overdoses nationwide and in Orlando are on the rise, especially the rise of fentanyl-related overdoses. He said the unit’s goal is to hold dealers accountable and reduce the number of deaths in Orlando, coming after the department felt these deaths were specialized and in need of a specific unit.
Rolón said the department could “have done business as usual,” but this unit paves the way for accountability and answers.
“They (the unit) developed a path that now gives these victims and their families the opportunity for closure, the opportunity to hold accountable these individuals that are killing people in our community,” he said. “But it was them who came up with the brilliant idea of setting this up.”