“Working with our federal law enforcement partners, we have taken down a major methamphetamine trafficking organization,” the sheriff said.
The joint investigation brought together the law enforcement muscle behind the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. All three law enforcement agencies were targeting what was believed to be an established meth trafficking operation in Polk County.
The result was multiple federal indictments by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the arrests today of 15 individuals with Polk County ties.
“The detectives were working as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting a major criminal methamphetamine drug trafficking and distribution organization,” said Scott Wilder, the communications director for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in his report on the case.
Throughout the investigation, task force detectives ended up seizing 11 pounds of methamphetamine, 11 guns and more than $131,000 in cash.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives, over the course of the investigation, made the arrests and filed state charges. The individuals have not yet been federally charged, although those indictments are expected to be forthcoming.
Judd said it was a major dent in illegal drug trafficking operations in Polk County.
“Methamphetamine destroys lives, drives up crime, and hurts families, neighborhoods, and our local economy,” the sheriff said. “Because of these federal indictments, these vile drug pushers will be held accountable for their role in distributing this terrible drug.”
Judd said this truly was a large-scale effort by multiple agencies to bring this alleged drug ring down. He singled out U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill and DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville of the Miami Field Division “for their key role in making our community safer and working to improve our quality of life. As always, the credit for the success of this investigation goes to the men and women working on the front lines.”
That includes Polk County’s sheriff detectives, HIDTA Task Force detectives, and DEA agents, he said.
“They make it happen, and I am so grateful for their hard work and dedication to improving our communities,” Judd said.
Among those arrested were Amanda Lee Brookman, 24, of Auburndale, charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia; Mia Jade Walsh, 33, of Winter Haven, charged with two counts of possession of methamphetamine, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a vehicle for drug sales; and Ines Alvarez, 34, of Haines City, charged with possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Also arrested was Simon Mondragon, 44, of Haines City, charged with not having a valid driver’s license.
“Some have been in the Polk County Jail since being arrested on state charges related to the investigation, others were arrested today in various parts of Polk County,” Wilder said. “They will be transported to Hillsborough County today, with the assistance of the United States Marshal’s Service.”