BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - More than 60 people are under arrest in what the Brevard County sheriff calls the county's biggest drug case he's ever seen.
In totoal, 100 arrest warrants were issued for members of a criminal organization accused of distributing illicit drugs, including enough fentanyl to kill every single resident of Brevard County, the Sheriff's Office says.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office spoke on Wednesday with Governor Ron DeSantis about a multi-month investigation into the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.
The governor praised the investigators who got a lion's share of the guns and drugs off the street. The suspects are accused of moving opioids and weapons all up-and-down the county. Their lethal loot was laid out on a table for cameras.
Under Florida law, in some cases, drug dealers can be charged with murder if use resulted in fatal overdoses. Sheriff Wayne Ivy and Gov. DeSantis said prosecutors can go there with some of these suspects.
"I will tell you these individuals are motivated by one thing, and that is greed," said Sheriff Ivy.
"They are involved in a very lethal enterprise," Gov. DeSantis added.
Punctuating the urgent need to get them off the streets, officials cited an alarming statistics: every day in Florida, 17 people die from a fentanyl overdose. Nationwide, a third of all Americans know someone addicted to opioids. Sheriff Ivy pointed to the table full of evidence.
"That's almost three pounds of fentanyl -- that's enough fentanyl to kill everyone in Brevard County," he said.
The sheriff said some of the suspects have ties to other counties, and his deputies are sharing information where that's necessary. The suspects were identified during the investigation as drug sources or distributors. Dozens of them have been arrested so far.
The illegal distribution of opiates in Brevard County has reportedly led to an increasing number of addicition related overdose deaths. Medical Examiner records reflect that 650 people have died from opiate related overdose deaths in the past ten years. Many of these are related directly to fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. It can be a threat to anyone who comes into contact with it as it can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled.
Additionally, 75 firearms, nine pounds of methamphetamine with a value of $81,000, and heroin with a value of of $100,000 were seized during the investigation, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office stated.
The defendents arrested in this case on Wednesday are facing charges that range from conspiracy and trafficking in heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine to racketeer influenced and corrupt organization (RICO). These charges bring penalties upon conviction of three to twenty-five years in prison.
You can watch the full press conference with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and Governor Ron DeSantis below.
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