Multi-Agency Operation Nets more than 70 arrests in Highlands County
SEBRING, Fla. – On September 30, 2010, a multi-agency federal, state, and local task force conducted an operation in which more than 70 people were arrested on drug trafficking and gun marcharges.
For more than a year, federal, state, and local law enforcement worked on a massive operation dubbed “Operation Triple Play” that targeted drug dealers and violent criminals in Highlands County. Operation Triple Play was a long-term investigation conducted by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force made up of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) West Palm Beach District Office: the Bureau of Alcohol: Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Sebring Police Department; the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office; and the State Attorney’s Office for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
Working together, investigators conducted long-term surveillances, made undercover buys, and utilized innovative investigative techniques to target some of Highlands County’s worst violators. The operation culminated this week with a surge of arrests as part of the federal Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). More than 80 arrest warrants were issued and more than 70 people have been taken into custody.
Most of those arrested in the operation are facing serious felony charges that could lead to lengthy sentences in state prison. Some face federal charges.
Operation Triple Play is most likely the largest and most productive investigation of its kind ever conducted in Highlands County. It is largely due to a renewed focus on long-term narcotics investigations by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office (SO) Special Operations Division. One of their missions was to establish strong partnerships with state and federal law enforcement agencies. As a result, Highland County SO now has detectives that are task force members with the DEA, the FBI, the ATF and the United States Marshal’s Service.