St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said during a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, that up to two tractor-trailers were coming per week from California to Hillsborough County, carrying marijuana and other narcotics. The operation could have been going on since at least January. Those shipments would be picked up and delivered across the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida.
“Oh, it’s just marijuana” is no excuse to allow hundreds of thousands of pounds of illicit drugs into the community
Back in January, Chief Holloway said his agency began looking at the violent crimes and shootings in the area. After a review of recent crimes, the vice and narcotics units said those incidents were related to drug sales.
“After we saw that, we reached out to other agencies in our area. The FBI, ATF, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, Clearwater and Tampa police, along with the sheriff’s offices in Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough teamed up. These guys don’t know jurisdictional boundaries and the good thing is neither do we,” FDLE Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell
In the month of October alone, the task force has seized about 1,800 pounds of marijuana, worth about $3 million on the street, plus 42 grams of crack cocaine, 18 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, seven pounds of liquid codeine, 40 grams of powder cocaine, five grams of methamphetamine, ecstasy, THC wax, $360,000 in cash, two stolen vehicles, six other vehicles and 15 guns. Helluva clean up job, guys!
One hundred and thirty subpoenas and 130 arrest warrants were issued. Officers arrested 26 suspects. Some of those arrested are gang members, and Chief Holloway said he believes this ring is connected to recent shootings involving teens in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.