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Dade City drug bust nets $40,000 in crystal meth

DADE CITY — A SWAT team, several patrol deputies and other emergency responders — more than 75 people total — crept into the Tommytown neighborhood about 10 p.m. Thursday and surrounded the property.

The yard was full of trash and a few dilapidated sheds. In the front stood the crumbling house where 34-year-old Angel Martinez lived with family members, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

Deputies tossed flashbang grenades into the house because Martinez was known to be armed, Nocco said. They emerged with Martinez in handcuffs.

Inside the home, authorities said, they found 1.2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine worth $40,000 on the street.

They also found 66 pills of Xanax, five guns, 4 ounces of marijuana and 3 ounces of cocaine.

Nocco said investigators had been watching Martinez for more than a year and knew he had been trafficking drugs. But, he said, the volume of high-grade meth might have broader implications.

"This is definitely stuff that was transported here," Nocco said. "(Martinez is) probably one of the main dealers in Tommytown."

Nocco said investigators hadn't yet determined where the meth originated. More arrests may still come out of the investigation, said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.

Martinez, who is originally from Miami but lives at 15251 Marian Ave in Dade City, was charged with armed trafficking of meth and cocaine. Deputies also had an arrest warrant for Martinez on charges that he bit and tried to strangle a woman earlier that week.

He remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Friday afternoon in lieu of $106,000 bail.

Alex Orlando can be reached at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Dade City drug bust nets $40,000 in crystal meth 09/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 21, 2012 8:56pm]
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