MARION COUNTY, FL – During the first quarter of 2021, The Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST) identified a trend of opioid related overdoses and overdose deaths. In response to this trend, UDEST launched investigations into organizations responsible for trafficking narcotics.
Since the first of the year UDEST has interrupted and dismantled several drug trafficking organizations in Ocala/Marion County. As a result of these investigations, Agents of UDEST apprehended 83 felony offenders with charges ranging from Sale and Possession of Cocaine to Trafficking kilograms of Fentanyl. Additionally, several suspects directly related to opioid overdose death investigations were arrested. At the conclusion of those investigations the cases will be submitted to the Office of The State Attorney with the intention of securing manslaughter indictments.
In recent months UDEST has seized the following throughout Marion County.
- Marijuana: Over 300 plants plus an additional 300 pounds packaged for distribution; Over one kilogram of THC concentrated derivatives
- Cocaine: 2 Kilograms
- Crystal Meth “Ice”: Over 30 pounds
- Heroin: Over 1 Kilogram
- Fentanyl: 3 Kilograms
- In excess of $108,000 in cash
- 21 guns including assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, and ammunition.
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Fentanyl is a highly addictive and extremely lethal substance that is contributing to the rise in overdose deaths not only in Marion County but also across the country. This substance is being broken down and mixed with other drugs to include marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The tremendous amount of work that the agents of UDEST exhibited in the seizure of three kilograms of Fentanyl is significant in that they potentially saved thousands of lives.