SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that two highly organized drug distribution rings are off the streets.
The joint-task force operation will also keep highly addictive and dangerous opioids from ending up in the wrong hands, deputies said.
Authorities said the suspected dealers were distributing approximately 750 baggies of heroin-laced fentanyl a day.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma described the hierarchy of a sophisticated heroin, fentanyl and cocaine operation that was running on the streets of Sanford, Lake Mary, Longwood and Geneva.
“Operation Sundown” involved members of the city and county investigative bureau, who spent five months infiltrating two criminal enterprises.
Lemma said the two groups were responsible for bringing in thousands of doses of heroin.
"Actually, it was more than 22,000 single dose packets of fentanyl and fentanyl laced heroin,” Lemma said.
According to investigators, the heroin was not only being sold out of houses, incolding one house on Selma Road in Longwood where 62 grams of fentanyl were found, but dealers would meet up with addicts in parking lots all over the county to sell the dangerous drugs.
Lemma said tips from the public came in regarding Nicholas Britton.
Investigators said Britton was double dipping between both organizations and then the dominoes slowly began to fall, resulting in 19 felony arrests and seven people arrested under the RICO statute.
The sheriff said officials are working with the state attorney's office to make sure there is swift consequences for dealers.
"Particularly these seven people facing RICO charges, there is a minimum mandatory of 25 years in prison," Lemma said.
The sheriff said this kind of raid won't solve all the problems with opioids.
In the last year, 54 people died as a result of overdoses in Seminole County, which is 20 more than the previous year.
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