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Homosassa man one of 37 drug suspects

A Homosassa man was arrested during a joint investigation between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office into drug dealing ties in Texas and South Florida, authorities say.

Robert Ward, 50, of 4018 S Ohio St., was arrested at 11:18 p.m. Thursday after he was accused of trying to buy crack cocaine, according to a spokesman at the Hernando County Jail.

Ward's bail was set at $5,000, but he was held Saturday due to another charge in Orange County, a jail spokesman said.

In all, 37 people were arrested in the busts.

Dubbed Operation Family Ties, the investigation began in September 2003 when the Sheriff's Office received several anonymous complaints of drugs at the home of Curtis Smiley at 9348 Chase St. in Spring Hill. Smiley was one of four Spring Hill siblings indicted on federal conspiracy and distribution charges.