Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas drug sweep focuses on oxycodone

TARPON SPRINGS — One by one, they were brought to the Tarpon Springs Police Department on Friday afternoon. Their hands in cuffs. Some with their heads down, some showing signs of defiance.

Before "Operation Oxy-Clean" is over, 34 people will be arrested on a variety of charges stemming from the illegal use of the prescription drug oxycodone, police said.

"We are real serious," said police Chief Bob Kochen. "If you are illegally using (oxycodone), we are going to come after you."

The operation began in October after Tarpon residents began to complain about the drug's presence in their community, said Capt. Robert Alfonso of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The operation, which targeted street-level drug buys, was a partnership between Tarpon police and the sheriff's Narcotics Task Force. It involved undercover drug purchases.

A total of 79 criminal charges were leveled against suspects, including the sale and possession of oxycodone; sale and possession of crack cocaine; and trafficking in oxycodone.

Pinellas County law enforcement agencies have had a growing concern about the abuse of oxycodone. In September, for example, a similar operation targeted 175 people on 375 charges.

They were suspected of illegally obtaining or selling more than 100,000 oxycodone pills since January 2010.

Alfonso said seven people per day die in Florida from the improper use of prescription drugs. There were 249 overdoses in Pinellas connected to oxycodone in 2009, and 289 in 2010, he said.

Authorities say the arrests will continue.

"If we can reach one person from all of this, that will be progress," Alfonso said.

Contact Demorris A. Lee at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

Three men are arrested during Operation Oxy-Clean on Friday. Officials expect to arrest at least 34 in the drug sweep. 

JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | Times

Three men are arrested during Operation Oxy-Clean on Friday. Officials expect to arrest at least 34 in the drug sweep. 

Pinellas drug sweep focuses on oxycodone 04/01/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 2:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plant High grad indicted in brawl on Delta flight to China

    Crime

    SEATTLE — A Plant High School graduate who fought with flight attendants and other passengers when he tried to open the exit door of a Delta Air Lines flight bound from Seattle to China has been indicted on five federal charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

    Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on one count of interfering with the flight crew and four counts of assault on an aircraft. [Facebook]
  2. The real estate pros in charge of Tampa's $3 billion makeover are younger than you think

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Brooke May, a 36-year-old senior construction project manager, knew she wanted to work for Strategic Property Partners the minute she met some team members involved with the group's massive downtown Tampa makeover.

    Matt Davis, Vice President of Development posed for a portrait in the Strategic Property Partners office in Channelside on July 12, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  3. Baddest of them all? Steelers LB James Harrison, hands down

    Bucs

    "No badass list is complete - or should begin anywhere else other than with - James Harrison," says Eric Edholm, an NFL writer who has worked at Yahoo Sports. (Associated Press)
  4. Florida education news: jobs, desegregation, lawsuits and more

    Blogs

    RESOURCES: A job created last year to coach and mentor first-year teachers in struggling schools, which was funded by the Pinellas County school district and the teacher's union, is being …

    Third-grade teacher Rachel Lachiusa, 23, left, gets help from Kali Davis, whose job it was to mentor first-year teachers in St. Petersburg.
  5. Jack Latvala can win

    Blogs

    From today's column:

    Latavla