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Seized fentanyl could have killed everyone in 3 Treasure Coast counties, St. Lucie County sheriff says

7 arrested after 2.75 pounds of fentanyl, 11.25 pounds of cocaine seized
Sheriff Ken Mascara holds a news conference on July 19, 2023, to announce a large-scale drug bust.
Posted at 11:18 AM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 20:03:17-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday the arrests of seven people in connection with a "large-scale" drug bust.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said the suspects were taken into custody Friday following a six-month investigation. He said his agency believes this is the largest-ever fentanyl seizure in their four-county area.

Port St Lucie

Port St. Lucie police make biggest fentanyl bust in city's history

Jon Shainman
3:38 PM, Jul 19, 2023

Investigators said the drugs were being sold out of four smoke shops in St. Lucie County.

Search warrants were executed at the following locations:

  • SmoKing Buds Smoke Shop in Fort Pierce
  • The Joint Smoke and Vape in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie
  • High Expectations in Port St. Lucie
  • A home located in the 1000 block of Southwest McCoy Avenue in Port St. Lucie

Watch the full news conference below:

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office announces 'large-scale' drug bust

Seized in the bust included:

  • 2.75 pounds of fentanyl, the equivalent of 600,000 lethal doses, with an estimated street value of more than $350,000
  • 11.25 pounds of cocaine
  • 10 pounds of "magic mushrooms" with a street value of about $300,000
  • 8 pounds of marijuana
  • 58 bottles of Lean, which is also known as "Purple Drank" — a codeine and methamphetamine mixture, with a street value of $4,000
  • $15,407 in cash
  • 4 firearms

"Illicit fentanyl, primarily manufactured in foreign, clandestine labs are smuggled into our country through Mexico," Mascara said. "It's being distributed across our country and sold on illegal drug markets."
The sheriff said 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person's body size or tolerance of past usage.

"The amount of fentanyl seized during this investigation could have killed every person in St. Lucie County, Martin County and Indian River County," Mascara said.

Arrested in the case were the following suspects:

  • Richard Delapaz, 52
  • Francisco Alejandro Valencia, 29
  • Sanders Emilio Mendez DeJesus, 21
  • Louis Riviera, 44 
  • Rafael Luis Diaz, 67
  • Jesus Luis Diaz, 31, the son of Rafael Diaz
  • Natasha Delapaz, 20, the daughter of Richard Delapaz
Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the six-month drug investigation in St. Lucie County, the sheriff's office announced July 19, 2023.
Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the six-month drug investigation in St. Lucie County, the sheriff's office announced July 19, 2023.

Mascara said the Drug Enforcement Agency in Palm Beach County assisted the sheriff's office in the investigation.

Police in Port St. Lucie announced earlier in the day that 10,000 fentanyl pills were confiscated in a separate bust, which they called the largest seizure in the city's history. Chief Richard Del Toro said that Radames Guzman, 43, also known as "Candy Man," was arrested and faces 22 drug charges in that case.

Mascara also said Wednesday they are still looking for the gunman in a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy on Monday.