Fifteen people have been arrested as part of a drug-trafficking investigation in Manatee County.
The multi-agency investigation was sparked by the high number of recent heroin overdoses and deaths in the area.
During the 18-month undercover investigation, authorities confiscated $262,500 worth of heroin, $111,000 worth of cocaine, 200 grams of fentanyl, 100 hydromorphone pills, 28 firearms and more than $327,000 in cash and assets.
Detectives say the investigation resulted in a significant decrease in the number of heroin overdoses and deaths in Manatee County.
“We were having two or three overdoses a day. I would listen to it on the radio," Sheriff Brad Steube said. "It was out of control. But ... since January ... we‘ve not had one overdose death, and that’s because of the investigations that been going on.”
In 2015, the Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee Sheriff's Office investigated 77 heroin-related deaths. So far, they say there haven't been any this year.
Those arrested were identified as:
- Cedric Houston, 35, of Bradenton
- Cody Lambert, 25, of Port Richey
- Brentton Edwards Woods, 30, of Bradenton
- Robert Haynes, 30, of Bradenton
- Brian Parker, 25, of Palmetto
- Gregory Parker, 51, of Bradenton
- Kashema Williams, 39, of Bradenton
- Will Reaves, 43, of Bradenton
- Jose Isaula Castillo, 33, of Bradenton
- Adrian Celestino, 45, of Bradenton
- Michael Brooks, 34, of Bradenton
- Deketrick Samuel, 27, of Bradenton
- Shadaryl Swilley, 29, of Bradenton
- Jonathan Cosme Torres, 29, of Orlando
- Josue Cosme Torres, 33, of Orlando
Officials say more arrests are expected.