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Florida law enforcement strike group racks up solid results

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(The Center Square) — According to state officials, a multi-agency Florida strike force has enjoyed a strong year helping combat human smuggling, sex trafficking, illegal weapons and illicit narcotics.

More than 40 human smuggling charges were filed while $2.7 million worth of illicit drugs were seized, according to a news release from DeSantis’ office.

Gov. Ron DeSantis stated in a news release that other states dealing with the influx of illegal migrants can use Florida as a blueprint in the future.

“The Biden administration is asleep at the wheel, and Florida will not sit idly by while drugs continue to pour across the open southern border and into our communities,” DeSantis said in a news release. “The overwhelming success of our interdiction strike force serves as a blueprint for states across the nation to uphold the rule of law and protect their communities from the Biden Border Crisis.”

The strike force was formed in June 2022 and includes members of the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and local sheriff’s offices. Operations were focused on keeping as much of the border crisis out of Florida as possible after Florida’s highways and interstates experienced an influx of drugs and human trafficking.

Between June 2022 and July 2023 10 operations were completed, and included the seizure of eight pounds of fentanyl, 5.4 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.6 pounds of heroin, 3.4 pounds of cocaine, 85.4 pounds of marijuana, 402 prescription pills, 178 grams of MDMA (better known as ecstasy) and 60 grams of mushrooms.

The strike force charged 42 people with human smuggling and captured 38 fugitives. In total, there were 10,569 felony charges over the year.

Further seizures by the strike force included $334,968 in currency, 11 vehicles, 30 guns, nine recovered stolen vehicles, and 158 people brought up on drug charges.

Dave Kerner, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said in a news release that the strike force was needed to keep Floridians safe.

“The crisis at our border is also a crisis in our communities, with weapons and drugs more available than ever and our children vulnerable,” Kerner said “But under the direction of Governor DeSantis, we are taking action to keep them safe, and law enforcement statewide is focused on preventing these things from taking over our state.”

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