TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced results from the successful first year of strike force efforts to interdict human smuggling and trafficking and the seizure of illegal weapons and illicit narcotics transported through the state. Over the last year, strike force interdiction efforts have resulted in thousands of felony charges, more than 40 human smuggling charges, over 150 drug charges and the seizure of $2.7 million worth of illicit drugs.
“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,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “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, formed at the direction of Governor DeSantis in June of 2022, includes members of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and local sheriff’s offices. Together, they conduct operations throughout the state focused on counteracting the effects of the Biden Border Crisis, which has resulted in an influx of drug and human trafficking and human smuggling on Florida’s major roadways.
“The crisis at our border is also a crisis in our communities, with weapons and drugs more available than ever and our children vulnerable,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner. “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.”
“In the past year, these interdiction operations have been proactive and successful in helping to keep Florida citizens safe,” said FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass. “Because of these operations, FDLE Agents and FHP Troopers have been able to identify and prevent some violent offenders from landing in our communities. I thank our FDLE team who are committed to these operations and the safety of Florida.”
Operations like this reinforce Florida’s commitment to law and order by interdicting human smuggling/trafficking and narcotics and illegal weapons when they enter the state and protecting our borders by providing law enforcement and resources to the southern border and the Florida Keys.
From June 2022 through July 2023, the Strike Force completed ten operations and collected the following:
- Fentanyl – 8 pounds
- Methamphetamine – 5.4 pounds
- MDMA – 178 grams
- Mushrooms (Psilocybin) – 60 grams
- Cocaine – 3.4 pounds
- Heroin – 2.6 pounds
- Marijuana – 85.4 pounds
- Assorted Prescription Pills – 402
- Human Smuggling Charges – 42
- Fugitives Captured – 38
- Total Felony Charges – 10,569
- Currency Seized – $334,968
- Guns Recovered or Seized – 30
- Vehicles Seized – 11
- Stolen Vehicles Recovered – 9
- Drug Charges – 158
The above arrests and totals reflect the strike force activity but do not encompass the entirety of every arrest, interdiction or seizure across the state.