Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
EAST VOLUSIA HEROIN RING DISMANTLED; RESPONSIBLE FOR 2 TO 3 KILOS PER MONTH, FENTANYL INCLUDED
A drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing 2 to 3 kilograms of heroin per month throughout the east side of Volusia County was dismantled on Friday, the result of a joint investigation between the Volusia Bureau of Investigation and the Daytona Beach Police Department Special Investigations Unit, which spent months building a case against the traffickers. Some of the heroin sold by the organization contained the deadly opioid fentanyl.
On Friday, VBI, Volusia County sheriff’s deputies and Daytona Beach police officers fanned out to arrest the ringleader, his associates and the organization’s street-level members. The group called itself “The Money Team.” The VBI operation, known as “Operation Tax Time,” resulted in arrest warrants for 19 individuals, plus search warrants for eight locations in Daytona Beach, Holly Hill and Palm Coast. The Tri-County Task Force and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the execution of the search warrant in Palm Coast. Ten of the 19 members were in custody as of Friday afternoon, and detectives seized 575 grams of heroin, 2 ounces of cocaine and three guns.
"They are destroying families. They are destroying lives," Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a Friday news conference announcing the arrests at the Sheriff's Office Training Center in Daytona Beach. "How many parents in this community are grieving the loss of a loved one because what that little scumbag (drug dealer) was doing?"
"The opioid epidemic is a national crisis that is killing people in our community," Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri added Friday. "It is going to take cooperation with law enforcement, as seen here today, and private sector partnerships working together to solve this problem."
"VCSO and FCSO, along with other local agencies, are teaming up to get drug dealers out of our counties," said Sheriff Rick Staly in Flagler County, where the ringleader’s Palm Coast residence was raided. "We will not sit back and watch this epidemic continue. We’re coming after you."
"Where I just came from in Pennsylvania, this fentanyl is killing people at an unprecedented rate," said DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger, who took the helm of DeLand PD in June. "It's the scourge of our country, and I want to applaud these gentlemen for their leadership, and I want to assure everyone in Volusia County that the DeLand Police Department is on board and will continue to be on board in these cooperative efforts to rid our streets of individuals like this, that are causing death and destruction everywhere they go."
It’s believed The Money Team was spending $40,000 to $100,000 at a time, roughly on a monthly basis, to purchase heroin for distribution on the street in Volusia County. The investigation also revealed members were distributing trafficking quantities of cocaine and pharmaceuticals.
Earlier this year, in January, undercover Daytona Beach detectives started making controlled purchases of heroin from the head of the organization, 31-year-old Julian Parker Miller. In January, the first purchase was made for $60 in heroin that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl.
After a judge authorized wiretaps on some of The Money Team’s phones, detectives were able to monitor repeated calls and texts setting up drug deals on the street. And VBI members conducting surveillance on the locations discussed on the wire were able to watch those deals take place.
Several of the organization’s members have been arrested and convicted of past crimes ranging from possession and sales of narcotics, to aggravated assault with a firearm, to possession of dangerous drug equipment, to fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement. The 10 Money Team members in custody as of Friday are:
One Money Team member identified during this investigation was already incarcerated at the Volusia County Branch Jail:
So far in 2017, approximately 100 deaths in Volusia County have been attributed to opioids. That compares to 101 in all of 2016, 111 in 2015 and 76 in 2014. Today, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating three open homicide cases in which the evidence suggests delivery and consumption of an opioid caused the user’s death.
“Using fentanyl just one time can kill–and that is why it is vital that we continue to aggressively investigate drug trafficking and remove these substances from our streets,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose Office of Statewide Prosecution assisted in the operation. “I firmly believe this investigation saved lives and I am grateful for each law enforcement officer who worked to seize these deadly drugs before they could be sold in our state.”
VBI is a multi-agency task force that pools resources from 10 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to target mid- and upper-level narcotics traffickers as well as racketeering and organized crime. Participating agencies include the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the Attorney’s General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Daytona Beach Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, DeLand Police Department, Edgewater Police Department, New Smyrna Beach Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. VBI also is part of the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA, which is a multi-agency task force established by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy to combat drug trafficking along the seven-county area hugging Central Florida’s I-4 corridor.###
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