Massive cocaine bust nets 35 arrests in Central Florida, official says

Over 339 kilograms of cocaine seized, according to law enforcement

MBI Director Ron Stucker said the investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 339 kilograms of cocaine. (Orange County Sheriff's Office)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County Sheriff John Mina and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation on Thursday announced 35 arrests made during a recent multi-agency drug trafficking case involving Puerto Rico, the U.S. Postal Service and “hundreds of kilos of cocaine.”

“There is no doubt in our minds that the arrests of these individuals and the significant seizure of these drugs has saved lives already in our community and will continue to save lives,” said Mina, of the two-year Operation Outta Hand.

MBI Director Ron Stucker added that this was the one of the largest cocaine trafficking operations seen in Central Florida, resulting in the seizure of more than 339 kilograms of cocaine and 25 guns, as well as the arrests of 35 people.

“The amount of cocaine coming into Central Florida over the last couple years has actually driven down the price of bulk cocaine by approximately one-third. The defendants in this case use the U.S. Postal Service and private parcel carriers to ship their cocaine to Central Florida,” Stucker said.

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Once it’s in the area, the drugs are distributed throughout the state and up the Eastern Seaboard, as far as Maine, Connecticut and New Jersey, according to Stucker.

“The investigation showed that certain defendants were also in possession of firearms and had the ability to convert these firearms to fully automatic weapons,” Stucker said during the briefing. “Drug trafficking organizations have the capacity to be extremely violent, and that’s one reason we prioritize the investigation and prosecution of drug traffickers is because they can be so violent and we want to prevent violence and to solve violent crimes.”

The joint investigation — tracking drug trafficking from Puerto Rico to Central Florida — engaged the sheriff’s office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the MBI along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, according to a news release.

According to a news release, defendants in the investigation face charges of trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in fentanyl, racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

See the full list of arrests below.

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.