Florida authorities recently announced a major drug bust that led to the indictment of nearly 50 people in Polk County. Several of the defendants have reportedly been living in the United States without authorization.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the arrests were the culmination of a law enforcement investigation named “Operation Meth Death Peddlers.” During the course of the investigation, officers reportedly uncovered a large drug trafficking scheme that shipped methamphetamine in from California and Mexico and distributed it to locations in Polk County, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. They claim to have seized approximately 50 pounds of drugs and an unspecified amount of cash and firearms.

Overall, 44 individuals were taken into custody during the operation, and an additional three people were charged. Nine of the defendants are accused of living in the U.S. without authorization and have been turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. One of the nine had a Polk County arrest warrant out in their name and has already been deported to Mexico. As a result of this investigation, the defendants have been charged with 85 felonies and 50 misdemeanors. Collectively, the defendants have been convicted of 94 felonies and 142 misdemeanors in the past. The investigation was conducted by members of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies.

Individuals charged with drug crimes are presumed innocent and have the right to mount a defense against the accusations. An Orlando, Florida, drug charges law firm may be able to represent a defendant in court, challenge the prosecution’s evidence and work to get the charges dropped or reduced.

Source: ABC Action News, “47 suspects, including some in the US illegally, charged in undercover meth operation in Polk Co.,” April 24, 2019