A Voodoo priest, $2 million in meth and 13 arrests

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A five month, multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of 13 drug trafficking suspects.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office, along with members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Orlando District Office, Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution and Lake County Sheriff's Office, identified 25 suspects allegedly involved in an organized drug trafficking enterprise, according to a release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

The multi-month investigation found an alleged organized methamphetamine crime ring who was responsible for the distribution of large amounts of meth in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole Counties. Investigators identified the alleged source of the meth supply as Javier Flores, aka El Don, according to the release. Flores lives in Southern California and is accused of managing large scale methamphetamine shipments to Lakeland, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, and Las Vegas, Nevada through Southern California from Mexico. The organization included a network of couriers, managers, distributors and customers.

In February, detectives intercepted a $200,170 cash delivery meant to pay for methamphetamine from a courier. Investigators also learned Flores and another suspect consulted a Voodoo priest who would provide predictions, prophecies and readings regarding the organization's decisions and welfare.

Tuesday investigators intercepted 44 pounds of meth at a Polk City Love's Truck Stop in the 1800 block of Florida 559, the release detailed. The "uncut" street value of the meth is approximately $2 million.

Also Tuesday detectives arrested 13 suspects, seized tens of thousands of dollars, seven vehicles, approximately 100 weapons, bullet-proof vests and thousands of rounds of ammunition from six different homes in Lakeland and Davenport.

Suspects custody include:

  • Alfredo Ortiz-Hernandez, 25
  • Debra Tapia, 49
  • Dioscelina Galaraza-Ozorio, 33
  • Eugenia Lopez, 29
  • Joel Tapia, 30
  • Jose Luis Rios, 47
  • Joseph Angelo Rinaldi, 34
  • Joseph Workman, 52
  • Luis Villafuerte Rojas, 39
  • Ma-Concepcion Lopez, 38
  • Maria Lopez Ontiveros, aka Mariana Alvear, 33
  • Maria Widdows, 29
  • Tara Tapia, 29

Two children, ages 1 and 3, were removed from one of the homes and placed into Florida Department of Children and Families custody.


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