Public Information Officer Debra Johnson told local St. Johns County reporters with Historic City News that deputies in Flagler County concluded a four-month investigation into the unlawful trafficking of prescription drugs early this morning.
Armed with arrest warrants, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tri-County Narcotics Task Force rounded up 15 to 18 suspects in connection with the illegal sales.
The main focus of the investigation was on the drug “Roxicodone” (Oxycodone) which has become the drug of choice for prescription drug traffickers.
The main source of supply for the drug comes from pain clinics throughout the South Florida area as well as Orlando and Jacksonville. Traffickers can enter a pain clinic and pay cash for an office visit. Most receive a prescription for pain and a prescription for anxiety which includes a prescription for Roxicodone which contains the drug Oxycodone, the same as Oxycontin. In recent years the focus has been on the brand Oxycontin because of the high milligram content of Oxycodone per dosage. Recently Roxicodone has replaced Oxycontin as the brand of choice because of its availability and high milligram content.
The prescriptions that are obtained range anywhere from 180 to 210 thirty milligram Roxicodone pills and 90 Xanax (Alprazolam) pills. The price for a thirty milligram Roxicodone pill on the street ranges anywhere from $12 tp $20. The price changes based on the time of the month and the availability on the street.
This investigation developed a drug trafficking organization that is not typical of most organizations. Most drug organizations form a chain which begins with a source of supply then branches out to other members that distribute the drugs. The trafficking organization identified in this investigation resembles a web rather than a chain with multiple sources of supply. The main source of supply changes daily and reflects who was able to get their prescription filled that particular day. Once a member of the organization was able to fill a prescription the other members were notified and made purchases from that member to redistribute.
There were eleven members of the drug trafficking organization identified during this investigation as well as seven others engaged in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.
Throughout this investigation the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Team, along with the FDLE task force, worked closely with the North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and their Tri-County initiative which is a drug task force located in St. Augustine. The Tri-County task force is made up of federal, state, and local agencies from this area and assists Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam Counties and their municipalities with larger drug investigations. The Unites States Marshals Service Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force assisted the Sheriff’s Office in locating and apprehending the traffickers involved in this investigation.
“This was an intense investigation which enabled us to identify those who are important players in the local drug trafficking scheme that centers on prescription drugs. This is not a problem that is unique to Flagler County, but it is a problem that needed to be addressed. We have done so,” said Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming. “Drug traffickers need to know, and I want to make it clear, that we are not done and we will find you. Our investigators are some of the best anywhere and they are determined to let you know, you are not welcome in our community.”
Prescription pain killers have become the largest threat to Flagler County over the past two years and makes up more than two-thirds of the drug purchases made by the Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Team. There has been recent legislation passed that recognizes the prescription drug epidemic affecting the state of Florida. The legislation is trying to make it harder for potential drug traffickers to obtain these drugs.
The three suspects still at large are: Diante Holmes, Sandra Golden and Brandon Henderson. Anyone with knowledge of their whereabouts is asked to contact the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 313-4911 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-8477.