MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators in Marion County said nearly $1 million in drugs was being moved using through the U.S. mail system.
Investigators said boxes filled with drugs came into the main postal hub in Marion County. They said and postal inspectors and Marion County Sheriff's deputies intercepted and delivered the packages, and arrested the people who accepted the packages.
According to investigators, about $750,000 worth of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription pills was shipped to Marion County through the United States Postal Service.
"We know it's on the street and we know our crime is driven by drugs," said Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair.
The Sheriffs Crime Suppression Unit teamed with postal inspectors to seize the drugs.
Detectives arrested 12 suspects, who they said worked out arrangements with suppliers in western states to mail the drugs to Marion County.
The 12 were arrested on a variety of drug and weapons charges. Investigators said five firearms were seized, three of which were stolen.
"If you want items from California or Texas you can go and pick them up and drive them, or someone out there can use a fake name and put it in a box and ship it here to a fake name," said Lt. Brian Spivey with the Sheriff's Office.
The boxes were delivered to vacant homes, most of them in the Silver Springs Shores community, investigators said.
After identifying packages that likely contained drugs, deputies staked out the neighborhoods arrested those who came to pick them up.
"We went with the postal inspectors for the delivery
, and the gentleman who opened the door had a gallon -sized bag of marijuana in hand," Spivey said, describing one arrest.
Investigators said they spent a month working on the investigation and found 20 packages containing the drugs.