ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of over 50 people as a result of Operation Safe Summer.
A multi-agency task charged 103 individuals and seized various illegal narcotics in an effort to keep Northeast Florida's streets safe during the Summer.
The five month investigation targeted Northeast Florida street-level drug dealers. The overall goal was to arrest these suspects prior to the start of summer break; in a sense to keep narcotics off of our streets.
"This is another example of the great team work from all of agencies involved," said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Dennis Bustle. "Our communities will enjoy a safer summer as a result of the hard work and dedication by all of those involved."
Sheriff David B. Shoar was pleased with the Tri-County Task Force efforts during this detail and stated, "This campaign had a broad scope regarding the types of drugs that were purchased." Shoar continued, "The investigators were able to purchase intoxicants that are widely considered gateway drugs, especially with our youth, as well as designer, cocaine and heavy narcotics." "The totality of this operation should create a vacuum in supply for a period of time; our hope is that some of the abusers of these substances will seek treatment, instead of a new dealer in the coming days."
Flagler County Sheriff James L. Manfre added "We appreciate the opportunity to participate with this tri-county warrant sweep. The combined efforts of all involved are fundamental to getting these criminals off our streets."
Sheriff Jeff Hardy with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office stated, "I am pleased with the ongoing relationship we have fostered with these agencies. Experience has taught us that when we combine our resources together, we are more effective at bringing these drug dealers to justice. Summer is a critical time to target drug sales because of the influx of children back into neighborhoods in their respective communities. I am proud to be associated with the investigators who worked so hard on these cases. Their efforts will help make our community safer."
St. Augustine Beach Police Department Chief Robert Hardwick expressed gratefulness to all agencies involved stating, "It is always good to work alongside other agencies in joint operations in order for all personnel to experience all aspects of the law enforcement profession. This operation specifically focuses on deterring future criminal activity, which adds to the success of the investigations."
The Tri-County Task Force included members from Putnam County Sheriff's Office, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, Flagler County Sheriff's Office, Palatka Police Department, St. Augustine Beach Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.