A two year long drug trafficking investigation ends with 85 arrests and $12.8 million in drugs seized in Polk County. The investigation began in September of 2020 when one of the suspects, Demarcus Terrell Jefferson killed a person after crashing his car into a gas station. During the investigation, authorities got word that Jefferson and some of his family members were helping smuggle large amounts of meth through checked luggage.
This sparked an undercover investigation where detectives made multiple drug purchases from Jefferson’s home. Authorities also learned that one of his brothers’ died of a Fentanyl and Xanax overdose at the residence. The investigation in Winter Haven eventually involved state and federal agencies across the country. According to News Channel 8, the ring smuggled large amounts of illegal narcotics from Mexico into Los Angeles. Then the drugs were transported via domestic flights from Memphis, Tennessee to Orlando, Florida. The drugs were then taken to Polk County by ground.
Sheriff Grady Judd said one one occasion they were able to smuggle six suitcases containing drugs on a domestic flight from Los Angeles to Orlando.
Detectives served 14 search warrants in Auburndale, Davenport, Polk City, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, and Riverview, as well as in Fresno, California and seized the following drugs and items:
- 268 pounds of Methamphetamine / 112,563 grams ($9,725,040 street value)
- 31 pounds of Cocaine / 14,055.17 grams ($1,405,337 street value)
- 180 pounds of Cannabis / 81,417.89 grams ($1,628,357 street value)
- 3.4 pounds of MDMA (Ecstasy) / 1,692.02 grams ($84,601 street value)
- 6.8 ounces of Fentanyl / 192.77 grams ($26,880 street value)
- 68 Alprazolam (Xanax) pills
- 173 Oxycodone pills
- 49 firearms
- 3 non-active grenades
- 2 bulletproof vests
- 1 stolen motorcycle
- $235,000 cash
The sheriff’s office said 85 suspects were arrested and charged with a total of 355 felonies and 93 misdemeanors. Authorities also said the amount of fentanyl seized could have killed up to 96,000 people.