Polk County Gets Double-Tough on Drug Dealers
Selling drugs in Polk County, Florida? Better be extra careful. Because the minute one of your customers overdoses, Sheriff Grady Judd is going to hunt you down like a murderer.
“We follow up fentanyl overdose cases as if they’re going to be a murder case,” said the Sheriff, “because many times they end up a murder case.”
It doesn’t even matter whether or not the user died Why? Well, because the Polk County Sheriff looks on the bright side. And he figures an overdose death is only a matter of time.
Sheriff Judd is right too. Anyone selling fentanyl-laced drugs is bound to kill a customer. And if the Sheriff can’t get that dealer off the streets before somebody dies, his office will at least be ready to file murder charges once somebody does.
“That’s what happened here,” explained Judd.
Incident in Winter Haven
This story begins in Winter Haven, on the 6th of last November.
Emergency service workers found an overdose victim passed out in a Winter Haven city park. Suspecting fentanyl, EMS personnel immediately began counter procedures. Those procedures worked, despite the victim being in what the Sheriff called “remarkably critical condition.”
On the 24th of that same month, that same victim overdosed again, this time in Volusia County.
This time, however, the user died.
By then though the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) were already on the tail of the alleged dealer, which Judd identified as Brandon “BJ” Jones. The Sheriff said undercover operatives had even bought drugs from him. And when they did, Jones was kind enough to warn them to “be careful,” because the drugs were so strong.
BJ wasn’t given a break though for warning the undercover cops. If anything, his warning will only prove he knew the drugs were lethal.
“He knows what he’s selling,” said Judd, at the close of the news conference. “And you know what? We know we’re going to put him in prison.”
Whether or not the Sheriff gets to put Jones in prison for murder depends upon what happens in Volusia County. But Sheriff Judd doesn’t seem very concerned about it. Because right now he’s got Brandon Jones and an accomplice named Joeffren Padilla “facing mandatory 25 year minimums for fentanyl trafficking.”
Polk County, Florida
Polk County is situated pretty much in the dead center of Florida. Its dominant cities – Lakeland and Haines City – dwell in the respective shadows of Tampa and Orlando. As such, they’re really more sprawl than city. That hasn’t stopped the county from experiencing big city issues like crime though. Quite the contrary. In fact, Polk County seems to be especially susceptible to violent crime. And, as of 2020, the violent crime rate had continued to rise.
Then again, we do live in violent times. Nobody can really blame the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for that. Violence is rising in nearly every section of the country. Sheriff Judd faults the borders, especially for fentanyl. He may be right too. At least so far as fentanyl is concerned.
But the current addiction crisis precedes fentanyl by decades. Big Pharma got folks addicted to pain pills (OxyContin) and quicker-picker-uppers (Adderall); then the Feds came along and summarily cut off the spigot. Did that mean patients suddenly no longer needed their medication? Of course not.
So the users turned to the streets.
But, as we’ve said before, these users aren’t street types. Many if not most of these so-called addicts got their start with doctors’ prescriptions. That means they’d likely come to harm no matter what drugs they sought – or bought. Fentanyl has only exacerbated the process. Unfortunately, it’s done so to an obscene degree.
We need not rehash the figures. Everyone knows about the 100,000+ Americans lost to overdoses last year. Everyone is bracing for even worse numbers to come.
That includes Sheriff Grady Judd. He and his Office are also doing their best to keep those numbers down as much as possible.
Polk County Sheriff
“We’re doing our part,” said Judd. “Now the community has to do its part.”
Beginning with waking up, the Sheriff insists. Why? Simple. “Because this fentanyl will kill you DRT.”
Dead Right There.
And Sheriff Judd isn’t talking about a few yous either. Heck, when the PCSO hit Jones’ house they found enough fentanyl to kill 70,000 people. “And it wasn’t even that much fentanyl.”
That’s right. A grain or so either way makes all the difference in the world.
“A chemist in Mexico sneezes and you’re dead,” said Judd.
Dead. Right. There.
Before the press conference ended, a reporter asked Judd if he had a message for drug dealers, and the ever-entertaining Sheriff came through with customary high color.
“The message to the dealers is ‘We’re coming after you,’” he said. “And we’re not just coming after you to put you into county jail; we’re coming after you to give you a mandatory 25 years. We’re sworn to do our best to take you out of circulation forEVER.”
Drop the Risk
It doesn’t matter whether you use meth, crack, powder, heroin or pills, every single time you buy and use street drugs, you’re risking your life. Aren’t you tired of wondering whether or not this time will be the last?
So why not drop the risk? Skip the side trip and go straight to your intended destination. If you don’t trust yourself, well, then stay home. Better to miss a day or three of work than to risk the rest of your entire life. And you know as well as anyone, that risk is real. Heck, you’ve probably lost someone you know to overdose. You may have even seen them die.
If you haven’t lost someone you know, you surely know someone who has lost a loved one. You probably know a few someones who’ve lost loved ones. It’s only as matter of time before that loss comes to or for you.
DRT. Dead Right There. That’s how Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd sums up the effect of fentanyl-laced drugs. No, it isn’t pretty. But it’s on target. Dead on target.
Make the Day
Healing Properties has seen too many men fall before they get to our doorstep. Men who’ve intended to show up tomorrow, but who never made it through the day. Some of those men promised to come straight from rehab; others vowed to come as soon as they were sober enough to drive. And instead they decided to take one last side trip. They’ll never be able to take another.
It breaks our hearts. It’s especially disheartening to know how close these men were to flipping the script. That they were just steps away from working the 12 Steps; mere feet away from regaining their own two feet. On the threshold of living the life of all lives.
We don’t want to see any more near misses. You don’t want to be this close any more either. So please, do everyone a favor and give us a ring. Show the whole wild world what you’re truly made of. Better yet, show yourself. The mirror is a lot easier to look at when your smile is as wide as the horizon. So is life.