by Bethany Blankley
In the past few months, Florida law enforcement officers have seized enough fentanyl to kill the state’s entire 22 million population.
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced massive seizures of illicit fentanyl pouring into Florida after being smuggled across the southern border as her office continues to fight the Biden administration in court over its immigration policies.
Moody on Wednesday warned the influx of fentanyl into the U.S. and Florida “will only get worse.” Even though Florida law enforcement have confiscated enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the state, this indicates even more drugs are out there, Moody said, adding, “it’s not hard to imagine how much is being sold on our streets undetected.”
Two milligrams, the weight of a mosquito, is considered a lethal dose. One kilogram has the potential to kill 500,000 people, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates.
“While Florida law enforcement is doing a tremendous job interdicting deadly drugs, if [President Joe] Biden will not do his job and secure the border, our state will be overrun and the death toll from fentanyl overdoses will continue to increase,” Moody warned.
Earlier this month, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office seized the greatest amount of fentanyl in county history of 11 pounds, enough to kill 2.7 million people.
That was after law enforcement officers working in multiple counties seized enough fentanyl to kill nearly half of Florida’s population after they shut down a major drug trafficking operation run by gang members affiliated with Mexican cartels.
Also this month, Clay County Sheriff’s deputies seized 8.35 kilograms and Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies seized 1.2 pounds of fentanyl.
In September, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office seized 3 kilograms of fentanyl; Flagler County Sheriff’s Office seized 219 grams, Fort Walton Beach Police and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies seized 48.6 grams.
In August in Polk County, the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force seized 192 grams of fentanyl; Palm Bay Police officers seized 412.7 grams, and Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies seized 252.9 grams. In July, Lake County Sheriff’s deputies seized 2 pounds of fentanyl and Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies seized 180 grams; in June, Lee County Sheriff’s deputies seized 0.5 kilograms.
In just two operations, Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies seized enough fentanyl to kill over 325,000 people. In one, a man who was arrested was a convicted felon who’d served time in prison.
In Clay County, the sheriff’s office and the AG’s Office of Statewide Prosecution thwarted an operation whereby dealers were shipping blue and purple fentanyl bricks from California to Florida. Enough fentanyl was seized to kill more than 4.18 million people or the population of 18 Florida counties.
In Jacksonville, the sheriff’s office announced its Narcotics Unit seized 3 kilos of fentanyl, 1.26 kilos of cocaine and over 6,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, enough to kill 1.5 million people.
In Flagler County, a Palm Coast man who was arrested had enough fentanyl to kill over 100,000 people, or the population of three cities in the county, the sheriff’s office said.
In Fort Walton Beach, a man who was arrested had enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the town.
A two-year multi-agency operation that culminated in August in Polk County led to the arrests of 85 people who were charged with 355 felonies and 93 misdemeanors. Their combined criminal histories include 690 previous felonies, 712 previous misdemeanors, and 194 felony convictions, according to the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement officials confiscated nearly $10 million worth of methamphetamines, over $1.4 million worth of cocaine, among other drugs, including 6.8 ounces of fentanyl.
A yearlong investigation in Lake County resulted in law enforcement seizing two pounds of fentanyl and eight pounds of cocaine among other drugs. That was after they conducted a four-month investigation targeting high-level drug traffickers that led the seizure of more than 3 pounds of fentanyl and 22 pounds of meth, among other drugs.
A 10-week Flagler County Sheriff’s operation focusing on meth trafficking on the west side of the county resulted in 14 arrests of offenders with multiple previous felony convictions. In Lee County, officers made 52 arrests resulting from an operation that led to the confiscation of several pounds of drugs including fentanyl.
At a press conference in June, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the operation was a result of “hours and hours, and days and months of investigations that are built up.”
His office made 95 arrests related to narcotics in the first six months of 2022, he said.
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Bethany Blankley is a contributor to The Center Square.