Eleven Arrested in Marion County Drug Ring Round-Up
JUL 13--The North Florida HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST) announced the completion of an undercover investigation resulting in the arrest of eleven subjects. The UDEST consists of agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division Gainesville Resident Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Marion County Sheriff's Office and Ocala Police Department.
Operation Body Shot was conducted over a year and half period after the drug distribution organization came to the attention of the UDEST. Agents discovered that this organization was importing cocaine and marijuana from Atlanta, Georgia and Volusia County, Florida. The drugs were then distributed throughout Marion County, Florida and within the city limits of Ocala. This group is believed to be responsible for the majority of the cocaine and marijuana that was distributed in Marion County over the last eighteen months. The investigation culminated on July 9, 2005, when agents and officers executed search warrants at the residences of Gerald Dandridge and James Johnson. Agents and officers seized approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine, over 250 pounds of marijuana, twenty firearms and approximately $700,000 USD. While eleven subjects were arrested, additional arrests are anticipated as the investigation continues. Presently the subjects are being held on State of Florida violations, but federal charges are pending.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Miami Field Division, stated "I want to commend the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Ocala Police Department for their work in this investigation. We at DEA are proud to join forces with such fine law enforcement agencies as we work side by side to clean up our communities and protect citizens from drug trafficking in their neighborhoods."