85 arrests in California-Florida drug smuggling operation in used checked bags on commercial flights
The country and drug law enforcement agencies are shocked following a brazen drug operation in California. This busted operation saw 85 people arrested as they sought to smuggle drugs from California to Florida through commercial flights. This is not the first of such cases across the country but there are a number of factors that makes this particular arrest interesting. Read on as we look at the details of the arrests and the extent of the crime committed by those that have been arrested.
The incident which occurred last week was reported by the Sheriff of Polk County Florida, Grady Judd. He gave a news press conference on the 19th of August, where he shared the details of the bust. From the press conference, it was confirmed that 85 people had been arrested as they sought to smuggle drugs through commercial flights from California to Florida. Following the arrests, the law enforcement agencies also seized the products the offenders sought to smuggle into Florida. The seized drugs are valued at millions of dollars and the Sheriff explained that the offenders sought to move them coast to coast across the country.
The case against the 85 arrested persons is set to be a monumental one with multiple felonies and misdemeanours at their feet. In actual sense, a total of 355 combined felonies and 93 misdemeanours are being levelled against the offenders from Winter Haven, Florida. With a number of prior cases in the works for some in this area, this is bound to be a big win for drug law enforcement agencies. The drugs seized from the bust include oxycodone, Xanax, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. The street value of these confiscated drugs sums up to about $12.8 million. Likewise, $235,000 in cash was confiscated as well as guns.
It is obvious that the busted operation is the work of an organized crime syndicate. Sheriff Judd stated that it is the largest wiretap investigation in Polk County. He further stated that the activities of the group cannot be regarded as nonviolent or low-level. This is because the sheer volume of drugs these groups are peddling is enormous and will ultimately get into the hands of children. Likewise, the products are also bound to increase moral decadence within communities both among peddlers and users.
While such incidenct is the largest in Polk County, it is a far cry from what the country has been dealing with in its war against drugs. The illegal market for narcotic drugs created by the opioid epidemic still lingers and is far from being completely eradicated. As long as there are suppliers to make these drugs available through these means, there will always be demand. This means the market will continue to remain despite strong efforts from strong agencies to eradicate it. It is therefore paramount that drug law enforcement agencies work at both ends to see that they bring an end to such activities that are having deleterious effects on society.
It is obvious from the outcome of the press conference that this successful bust is a result of a conscious investigation by concerned agencies. It is expected that such feats will go a long way to spur them to increase their efforts towards the cause. Likewise, it is also expected to have a ripple effect that will trickle down to all types of law enforcement agencies as they seek to win the war on drugs.
The offenders from all indications have been on this spree for quite some time. This is because according to the Sheriff, they did not see a reason to use other materials to stuff the luggage used in carrying the drugs. The arrests had occurred over 2 years between Los Angeles and Orlando. A particular arrest saw an offender with six pieces of luggage filled with nothing other than drugs. This level of confidence and the continuous nature of the offence shows the drug law enforcement agencies have work to do on the source of these products. It is only then that they can be sure that such activities on commercial flights will be brought to a halt and distribution from coast to coast is hindered.
The presence of marijuana among the confiscated drugs is also one that strikes the eye. It is no news that marijuana is legalized in most states in the U.S, this is despite the fact that it is still considered illegal by the federal government. The presence of legal cannabis dispensaries for retail sales has reduced the effect of grey markets in many states however states with prohibitive laws are still being serviced by these markets. This is one of the reasons why some drug pushers are still peddling marijuana through these channels. Though even legal states also have illicit markets operating in them as they look to compete based on price differences and availability. Nonetheless, the demand from states without legal markets is what is spurring these dealers on.
The effects of legal marijuana are there to see in legal states as the rate of abuse and illicit markets have been known to be on a downward trend. This is because the stereotype around cannabis users is gradually changing and people are comfortable purchasing their product publicly without getting into issues with the law. Likewise, the unique effects of different cannabis strains mean that more people are open up to different sensations with different products. This tends to limit the demand for other drugs that are illicit and have strong dependence and withdrawal issues such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and cocaine.
This is not to say that legal markets of marijuana are a sure way to limit incidents such as the one being looked at today. Nonetheless, it is obvious that it will reduce these activities to a large extent and as things stand, that’s all that we can hope for.
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