Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Multi-county Operation Targets Rx Drug Violators

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office was one of 16 agencies in the Southwest Florida Strike Force that participated in a multi-county sweep of residents attempting to make illegal prescription drug purchases.

A total of 50 individuals were arrested last week during “Operation Southwest Shopper.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Sheriff's Offices from Collier, Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto, Sarasota and Manatee counties participated with police departments from Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, North Port, Venice and Sarasota, and the Florida Department of Health, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Florida Department of Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco.

In March 2011, Gov. Rick Scott announced a Statewide Drug Strike Force, headed by FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, to combat the criminal distribution of prescription drugs in Florida. With support from Attorney General Pam Bondi and state and local law enforcement leaders, the Strike Force is charged with stopping the flow of dangerous drugs into communities by disrupting the major illegal supply and distribution points.

For 2011, Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Force members’ efforts statewide have resulted in 1,794 arrests (including 31 doctors) and the seizure of 433,466 pharmaceutical pills, 49 vehicles, 379 weapons, and $4,537,310. Additionally, 27 clinics have been closed.