According to an online story on BayNews9.com, members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), along with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), busted a major drug operation that was using produce shipments to smuggle Cocaine into the Tampa Bay area.
The men arrested are accused of bringing $2.5 million worth of drugs from Mexico to Tampa Bay communities like Palm River and Progress Village.
Deputies say a 23-year-old college student from Texas was at the top of the operation. At the bottom were local “gang members” who distributed the drugs.
“Thirty-three gang members and drug dealers have been federally indicted to date and a dozen more are still pending Federal and State charges,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Chief Jose Docobo.
The drugs were hidden in boxes of limes. Deputies say the drug dealers hid the cocaine in packages of limes because the strong odor of a lime can hide other smells, but they say it didn’t work because K-9’s were still able to sniff out the drugs.
“The limes were in boxes and inside those boxes the Cocaine was concealed inside other boxes within that pallet or shipment,” Mark Trouville, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Deputies say it was then turned into Crack Cocaine and distributed on the streets of Progress Village and Palm River.
According to the BayNews9.com story, concerns from neighborhood groups prompted the “crack down.”
The Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handles both State and Federal criminal cases throughout the Tampa Bay area (as well as select matters throughout the State of Florida).
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Nicholas J. Dorsten, Esq.
Blake & Dorsten, P.A.