Operation Spot Remover: St. Lucie Sheriff's Office talks about drug ring bust at news conference

 ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Details of a multi-agency crackdown on a multimillion-dollar-a-year drug ring centered in Fort Pierce was presented in a news conference by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Pierce Police Department Wednesday.

Sixty-five people are now in custody.

The investigation was entitled Operation Spot Remover.

Two weeks ago, search warrants were executed at three homes in the county, including one on North 28th Street in Fort Pierce.

"It was a small pharmacy. In fact I think they were exchanging more pills in a given day than our small pharmacies do legally,"said Fort Pierce Police Chief R. Sean Baldwin.

Investigators said the principles in the operation are all thought to be behind bars.

Police say as many as 18-hundred pills a week were sold, with an annual street value of 10.4 million dollars.

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Detective Andrew Bolonka said they were "mesmerized by the volume of traffic" going in and out of one home.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said neighbors described the volume of activity around the house "like I-95 24 hours a day."

The investigation of the drug ring was a "massive undertaking," said Chief Baldwin. "We went for almost a year to crack through all the layers of defense... this was a huge victory for city of Fort Pierce," Chief Baldwin said.

Sheriff Mascara said these are not victimless crimes because many of the drug users arrested by police also committed property and other crimes to feed their habits.

More arrests are expected.

Federal, state and local agencies participated in the crackdown.


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