A massive undercover operation focusing on locking up drug dealers in Flagler County, Fla., successfully came to a close after nearly a year in action.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said $5.7 million worth of illegal drugs are off the streets thanks to the department’s ‘Santa’s Naughty Lil Sellers’ operation.
During the investigation, which began in January 2022, FCSO said its Special Investigations Unit seized enough heroin and fentanyl to “potentially kill over 2.3 million people.”
The investigation resulted in arrest warrants for 35 suspects and a total of 58 charges. Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said most of the suspects are county residents and arrests began at 6 a.m. Thursday.
Thirty of the suspects investigated during the operation face at least one charge of selling or intent to sell illegal drugs, including three whose identities are being withheld as investigators work the cases.
The remaining five suspects are charged with at least one count of possession of illegal drugs.
The department said over 123 kilograms of various illegal drugs were seized during the undercover operation, including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, morphine, synthetic cathinones (MDMA), morphine, suboxone, steroids, psilocybin (mushrooms), dilaudid, methamphetamines and marijuana.
FCSO said 24 search warrants were served during the 11-month period, and 13 firearms – seven rifles and six handguns – along with $41,989 in cash were seized.
“This should also be a warning to drug dealers that, if you are not listed on these boards in this operation, I suggest you get out of Flagler County because you are next! And if you sell a fatal dose of poison, we will investigate you until we can lock you up for murder,” Staly assured.
The sheriff encouraged the suspects who have yet to be arrested to turn themselves in. He said to call the sheriff’s office or “go to the Green Roof Inn on Justice Lane in Bunnell.”
“That way, you don’t have to look over your shoulder wondering when we will arrest you because I promise you, if you are one of these poison peddlers, we will get you,” Staly said.
In a news release, Staly commended the department’s undercover team, Special Investigations Unit, SWAT, Evidence, CSI, PACE Unit, the detention and booking teams and the patrol deputies for their involvement in the operation.
“I especially want to thank our community that when they saw something suspicious in their neighborhood, they said something. We investigate every tip, and today you see the results of your tips. We will never know how many overdoses or deaths we prevented with this undercover operation,” he added.
Staly said some of the suspects are facing additional charges after deputies found more drugs during Thursday’s warrant sweep.