STUART, Fla. — Deputies in Martin County have made a record number of narcotics arrests in recent months as part of their Wrong Exit campaign.
The operation is aimed at criminals coming in from other counties.
"I got $300 I can spend right now," said one undercover deputy on a phone recording with a suspected drug dealer.
"You can't meet up in Jupiter?" said the suspect. "Stuart, that's a bad county there, bro. That's a bad county to go to jail in."
"We're talking about people that make a living selling drugs, just trafficking narcotics," said Martin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek.
Budensiek said in just three months, there have been 35 significant drug arrests, most of which are heroin laced with fentanyl.
"That's significant for us," said Budensiek. "Probably the most we've had ever in that block of time from out of the county into the county."
"Opiates and heroin, first time you shoot, you can literally be addicted," said John Nelson, founder of Familiesrecover.org.
Nelson said education at a young age is key and that work needs to be done early to make a lasting impact.
"We don't have it in the schools and that's one thing that we're trying to put together now," said Nelson.
While deputies said drug arrests are up, drug overdose deaths are down.
In 2021, there have been 14. That's compared to 41 for all of 2020.