SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Law enforcement teams are hard at work making drug busts on land and sea. One bust involves a potent drug that’s already proven deadly. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard stopped an international smuggling operation worth more than $2 billion.
On land, multiple arrests were made as local and federal law enforcement swept the streets for drug dealers specializing in the powerful opioid carfetanil.
The effort, called Operation: Dragon Slayer, saw officials swarm at least three different houses in Southwest Miami-Dade and make 17 arrests. The suspects include women and men, young and old.
The goal is to get the dangerous opioid off the streets. “A very, very small dosage could kill you, and that is why we are using precautions when we are investigating the cases,” said Miami-Dade Police Lt. Juan Villalba.
Taking the form of white powder, cops won’t know for sure what it is they have found until they test it. However, precautions must be made. Should the drug come into contact with the skin, the handler can actually become very sick.
“Between a hundred, give or take, a hundred times more powerful than morphine,” said one officer. “A lot of these dealers … some of them don’t know what they are selling, a lot of them do know.”
Investigators also came across firearms, including a pink handgun and a rifle outfitted with a scope, but drugs were the true focus of the operation.
Mailboxes were also investigated because, according to police, carfentanil is shipped to the U.S. from China and Mexico. Someone inside one house denied receiving such packages.
Police said carfentanil poses the biggest threat when mixed with heroin — a mixture which can almost immediately stop the heart, and it’s becoming an epidemic.
“The people selling it, these are not chemists, so when they mix it, they don’t know what the powder is they are getting. It could be heroin, it could be carfentanil, fentanil, sometimes it’s even sham — sometimes it’s even not a drug at all,” said an officer.
The opioids confiscated are worth billions in street value and will now, never make it onto the streets. “We’re trying to get it off the streets — and we’re trying to keep it off the streets,” said Villalba.
Several miles north, in Port Everglades, the Coast Guard unloaded 26 tons of cocaine with a street value of $2 billion. That haul came from a three-month operation on the water.
One video provided by officials shows investigators chasing smugglers in go-fast boats, who are seen tossing crates filled with drugs into the water.
Now, more than 100 suspected smugglers are out of work and in custody. “These interdictions are never easy,” said U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Karl Schultz. “Our crews face considerable risks posed by the smuggling organizations.”
Law enforcement officers said hunting down these drugs is a difficult job, and it’s getting trickier, as smugglers keep finding more sophisticated ways to get the job done.
Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.