In December, multiple news sources reported a recent news release in Putnam County, an inland community in the northeast part of the state of Florida: A year-long investigation had resulted in a massive crystal meth bust.
By the end of the investigation, which resulted in the indictments of the trafficking ring’s key players in August 2018, law enforcement officers had seized an estimated $800,000 in extremely pure crystal methamphetamine, an additional $100,000 in cash and several firearms.
In August 2017, the Putnam County Sherriff’s office, in conjunction with the DEA’s Jacksonville District Office, got word that a veritable drug kingpin was operating in its midst.
A local 49-year-old, James Callaway was supplying drugs to community members. Normally, the next step would be to arrest the person dealing the drugs. But in this case, larger amounts of meth were being sold, suggesting that Callaway was near the top of the supply chain.
Authorities compiled more evidence against Callaway, culminating in the arrest of a 52-year-old Palatka man, Jason Morris, after he bought and trafficked a supply of the drug from Callaway.
In February 2018, law enforcement had what they needed to raid Callaway’s home, seizing a large supply of crystal meth. Later in the month, they arrested another dealer who was trafficking drugs believed to be supplied by Callaway.
In March, authorities concluded that Callaway was getting monthly deliveries of product from a 39-year-old named Anthony Jones. Jones was arrested shortly after, and the number of arrests climbed to four from this one investigation. Jones, Morris and Callaway were indicted in August of 2018, part of the final chapter of the operation that authorities called Polar Pop.
After the investigation was closed by the authorities involved in shutting down the trafficking operation, eight other arrests were made. While all of the additional arrests were people connected to the trafficking, some were only arrested for possession of methamphetamine or drug paraphernalia.
As far as we know, none of those involved in the Putnam County bust have concluded their criminal cases, although as of early 2019 all are still facing charges for their crimes.
Close to Home
Although we keep a close eye on drug trafficking news from around the country, FHE Health pays especially close attention when things happen in our backyard.
Florida has long been known as a hotbed for drug trafficking, ever since the early days of air travel. The Port of Miami was known as one of the most heavily used cocaine shipping lanes in the1980s and early ’90s, and it still is today. The problem is that most people think that trafficking through Florida is in the past.
Unfortunately, this isn’t accurate. As recently as April 2018, known drug traffickers based in Central America were reported to be buying small planes in South Florida, presumably to use in smuggling through the area.
At the Florida House, we do our best to recognize local law enforcement’s efforts to keep drugs off of the streets and out of our communities. If you hear anything about illicit drugs in your community, contact local police immediately.
If you or a loved are struggling with drug abuse or addiction, FHE Health can help. Call us to learn more.