POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office, along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has ended a large-scale undercover Methamphetamine trafficking investigation that spanned across the country.
- Polk County involved in nationwide meth trafficking investigation
- Meth being delivered to Polk from Mexico
- BELOW: Full press conference on meth investigation
Sheriff Grady Judd held a press conference Wednesday morning releasing details on "Operation Meth Death Peddlers."
During the investigation, detectives learned that meth was being brought in from Mexico to California, and then delivered to Polk County, along with other states such as Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The investigation started in 2016 and resulted in 44 arrests, 3 warrants, and the seizure of 50 pounds of meth, money, and firearms.
According to officials, of the 47 people charged, 9 are in the country illegally and are being held in the Polk County jail on ICE holds. One suspect has been deported back to Mexico and has a Polk County warrant for his arrest.
The suspects are collectively charged with 85 felonies and 50 misdemeanors, the report stated. They've been previously arrested and charged with a total of 392 felonies and 325 misdemeanors, and previously convicted of a total of 94 felonies and 142 misdemeanors.
Sheriff Grady Judd released a statement on the results of the investigation:
"These drug traffickers and drug dealers are what some in the Florida legislature refer to as low-level, non-violent drug offenders.' Some politicians want to release drug traffickers early from prison, lower their sentences, or avoid putting them in prison all together. But make no mistake, everything about meth is violent and destructive. It destroys lives, ruins families, and kills people. Meth equals death. If meth doesn't kill you outright, it relentlessly kills you over time. These drug dealers have blood on their hands. They make money off of the misery of others. They use violence as a means to enforce their business rules. Everything about what they do is violent to our communities and our quality of life. The next time a politician tells you that trafficking in meth, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, and other illegal street drugs is non-violent, low-level crime, tell them they are not operating in the realm of reality."
WATCH the full press conference from Sheriff Grady Judd: