Sheriff Grady Judd is speaking to the media in regards to Operation: Bell Gang Blues, a drug trafficking investigation in Lake Wales that netted 29 suspects, and arrest warrants for three others.
Following a 16-month undercover investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover Narcotics detectives and the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) task force made 29 arrests in the Lake Wales area and obtained three arrest warrants related to the trafficking, sale, and possession of illegal narcotics.
During the investigation, detectives and agents executed search warrants at eight locations in southeast Polk County:
Detectives filed 301 total felony and 134 total misdemeanor charges against the suspects during the investigation. Altogether, the suspects have 645 previous charges, including 314 prior felonies and 331 prior misdemeanors.
“It amazes me that some people still think drug traffickers are somehow low-level, non-violent criminals. In this instance, eleven guns were in the hands of these felons – two of which were stolen. Illegal drugs ruin lives, destroy families, drive up property crime, and wreck neighborhoods. Our community is safer because of the outstanding work by our detectives.”– Grady Judd, Sheriff