Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In the wake of drug arrests, Pasco Sheriff Bob White calls for stricter immigration laws

NEW PORT RICHEY — A day after deputies found drugs and guns in the home of two brothers here illegally from Mexico, Pasco County Sheriff Bob White called a news conference where he advocated stricter laws on illegal immigration.

"When we let illegal aliens come into this country and spread their stuff," White said, extending his arm toward a table covered with cocaine, crack and crystal methamphetamine from the $20,000 drug arrest, "then shame on us. Shame on everyone involved."

His comments came amid the national debate over a new Arizona law that is the strictest immigration measure in decades. That law requires police to check the papers of anyone they stop and suspect of being in the country illegally, and gives officers broad powers to detain anyone under those circumstances.

Opponents fear the measure could lead to harassment of Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship status. But White praised the Arizona law, saying it would help law enforcement round up people who are not here legally.

As it is now, White said, "We could talk about the beauty of your country, we could talk about your culture, but I couldn't keep you."

The drug arrests that prompted the news conference happened about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, after someone called 911 saying a home was being broken into at 11422 Fort King Road in Dade City.

Deputies found shattered glass and an open door. They surrounded the home and told those inside to come out.

The two brothers who live there — Ranferi Acuna, 23, and Adan Acuna, 20 — came out. Both are illegal immigrants from Mexico, White said. Neither spoke English.

White said the brothers allowed deputies inside the house, where $20,000 worth of drugs were in plain view, as well as an AK-47 assault rifle, two handguns, an air rifle, ammunition and $6,202 in cash, White said.

The drugs included 309 grams of powder cocaine, 22 grams of crack cocaine and 47 grams of crystal methamphetamine, White said. The drugs were parceled into multiple bags except for the methamphetamine, which was placed on aluminum foil, a report stated.

White said he suspects the Acuna brothers passed through several states in their trek from Mexico to Florida. Had it been on the books sooner, the Arizona law might have detained them, he said.

"They passed a lot of police officers in their journeys," he said.

White mentioned another drug arrest last August out of Dade City. Federal agents and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office spent a year and a half investigating a high-volume cocaine ring and found 52 kilos of cocaine — more than 114 pounds — and $200,000 in cash buried under a shed. The cocaine's street value was $1.5 million — the biggest cocaine haul in Pasco County history. The three suspects in that case were also undocumented immigrants from Mexico, White pointed out.

"There are a number of people coming across our border and a number of them are in the drugs trade," White said.

Ranferi and Adan Acuna were arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and two counts of possession of cocaine. Detectives don't know if they had ties to the August drug ring because the brothers are not cooperating with the investigation.

White said the brothers were not the ones who called 911 about the home invasion.

A vice and narcotics detective who wore a ski mask at the news conference, so as not to reveal his identity, said the brothers seemed like they had just woken up when deputies arrived.

"They seemed very surprised," he said. He said he believes the brothers are the only two who lived at the residence.

Both are being held at the Land O'Lakes jail, awaiting referral to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

In the wake of drug arrests, Pasco Sheriff Bob White calls for stricter immigration laws 05/27/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 9:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — More than a decade after plans to develop a vacant waterfront tract were first announced, a new rendering finally gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District will ultimately look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  2. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location


    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International Airport.

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'


    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  4. Review: 'The Defenders' brings out the best in Marvel's unlikeliest heroes


    The ties that bind Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist run deep. But they're just starting to figure all that out in The Defenders.

    Mike Colter, Scott Glenn, Finn Jones, Krysten Ritter and Charlie Cox in The Defenders.
  5. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can't keep 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' on-target


    The Hitman's Bodyguard is an assault tank on semi-automatic pilot, spraying jokes and bullets with only the ammo consistently hitting its targets. The irresistible teaming of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson might be even funnier if they missed once in a while.

    Samuel L. Jackson, left, and Ryan Reynolds star in "The Hitman's Bodyguard." (Lionsgate)