St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara announced Monday the arrest of more than a dozen suspected drug dealers.
Seventeen suspects were picked up as part of what he called Operation 2nd Mistake, are accused of selling heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and other illegal drugs.
Mascara said information from a previous investigation led the department and its partners to the suspects.
In addition to drugs, investigators said they confiscated: A Walther 9mm handgun, Glock handgun, Model 1911 handgun, Palmetto Arms AR-15, 12-gauge shotgun, pistol-style Drako AK-47, Highpoint .45 cal. handgun and miscellaneous ammunition.
“As part of the investigation, two individuals from South Florida, Tyco Dean and John Allen Crane, Jr. were arrested in Martin County as they attempted to deliver almost half a kilo of heroin and cocaine," Sheriff Mascara said in a statement. “Both Dean and Crane are career criminals who served time in federal prison. John Allen Crane, Jr. has a violent history including armed robbery, armed sexual battery, kidnapping and is a registered sex offender.”
The sheriff's office said the department worked with the DEA, ATF, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and 19th Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney.
“The person is not a bad person, this drug is just a bad drug,” said Peggy Hernandez. For the last two years, she has been pushing for education and action after she found her 23-year-old son dead from a fentanyl overdose.
“I was very vocal,” said Hernandez. “I wanted to reach as many people as I could to educate.” She feels like the community-wide push is finally paying off.
“I’m very optimistic that within the next few years the numbers are going to go down even further.”
And thanks to a recent change in state law, the drug dealer who sold her son the fentanyl was held accountable for his death.
Story updated to reflect additional arrests revealed by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.