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Florida law enforcement shuts down fentanyl, xylazine trafficking ring

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(The Center Square) – Florida law enforcement officers and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution have shut down a trafficking ring in the Orlando area. The group is responsible for pushing large quantities of narcotics, including fentanyl laced with xylazine, into the area.

Moody’s prosecution team is scheduled to prosecute 12 people on drug trafficking charges who are accused of trafficking cocaine, fentanyl, xylazine and amphetamine in the Orlando area.

In April, Moody launched a public safety alert warning about the dangers of Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, referred to as “Tranq” on the streets. Tranq has been found to be laced in fentanyl and other drugs that have led to overdoses and deaths. In two years, the frequency with which the drug has been identified in FDLE crime labs has doubled, The Center Square previously reported.

“I have been warning about the presence and proliferation of the zombie drug xylazine being mixed with already deadly fentanyl for months now,” Moody said. “This extremely dangerous and flesh-eating drug is outlawed in Florida, and we will aggressively prosecute any criminal organization trafficking this poison across judicial circuits in our state. I am grateful for our dedicated law enforcement partners for shutting down this ring and cutting off this lethal supply chain.”

Moody’s office is prosecuting individuals arrested by Florida law enforcement officers. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation after it received information from various informants about a drug trafficking organization operating throughout the Oak Ridge area of Orange County. Members of the sheriff’s narcotics unit conducted multiple controlled purchases from several members of the alleged trafficking group of fentanyl laced with xylazine, and cocaine.

Their investigation also uncovered that the drugs were being transported to Florida from a supplier in New Jersey. The Florida Highway Patrol then began to intercept members of the group in Volusia County. In one stop, they seized over 400 grams of fentanyl and xylazine in the trunk of a vehicle.

Throughout the multi-agency investigation, the alleged drug traffickers “committed several other crimes, including conspiracy to traffic fentanyl greater than 28 grams, trafficking amphetamine greater than 28 grams, money laundering, multiple sales and deliveries, conspiracies to sell and deliver,” according to a statement from Moody’s office.

Twelve people were arrested, a majority of whom are men. They were charged with a combined 52 felony counts ranging from money laundering and possession of cocaine to conspiracy to traffic fentanyl, which carries a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Moody’s Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Ashley Wright is prosecuting the cases.

Moody and Florida law enforcement officials are still warning about the dangers of fentanyl, xylazine and other illicit drugs. Xylazine is now the sixth-most identifiable illicit drug in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Moody also sent a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram calling on her to add Xylazine to the list of controlled substances. Xylazine is already a Schedule I substance in Florida.

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