Advertisement
  1. News

Rural Plant City home served as hub for major meth operation, investigators say

Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Apr. 19

TAMPA — More than a dozen people have been arrested in the bust of a methamphetamine trafficking operation centered on a rural home in Plant City.

The arrests are the result of a seven-month investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of Statewide Prosecutor.

They were announced Wednesday at a sheriff's news conference.

The investigation was dubbed Ice Cubed, after the nickname for meth and after three of the key suspects arrested — all brothers.

The investigation began in September 2018 when a drug trafficking hub was identified at 1804 South Forbes Road just south of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the address of a manufactured home on a large rural lot surrounded by an agricultural field and other rural homes.

During the past several years, the Sheriff's Office has responded to more than 100 calls of service to the location.

The operation involved drugs brought in from Mexico, said William "Mike" Furgason of the DEA.

Since 2010, Furgason said, the agency has seen a spike in the use of meth nationwide as the purity of the drug rises and prices drop.

"Gone are the days of mom and pop meth labs in the back of a trailer," Furgason said.

They still exist, he said, but more of the drug is coming through cartels.

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said the arrests are noteworthy for the size of the meth operation and the way investigators learned about it.

"Often," Chronister said, "the only way can we can identify a residence that is making meth is when they blow themselves up."

Three defendants face some of the most serious charges filed in the case, including conspiracy to traffic in amphetamine and keeping a structure for drug activity. They are Leovigilda Rojas De Coronado, Eddie Rodriguez and Edgar Rodriguez Jr.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Amber Carr, center, wipes a tear as her sister, Ashley Carr, left, and attorney Lee Merritt, right, listen to their brother Adarius Carr talk about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson during a news conference Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. The family of the 28-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth home as she played video games with her 8-year-old nephew expressed outrage that the officer has not been arrested or fired. (Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News via AP) AP
    The white, former Fort Worth police officer has been booked in jail on a murder charge for the shooting of a black woman through a window in her home.
  2. Tikerria Nashay Bell, 21, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    She fled with their 18-month-old daughter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    Police say it appears the girl was accidentally left inside the Jeep on Monday morning.
  4. The Tampa Bay Times' annual Medicare Guide explains how the program is set up, helps you compare options available in the Tampa Bay area, and points the way toward help, including free, one-on-one assistance. This illustration will grace the cover of LifeTimes on Oct. 23, when the guide will be published in print. RON BORRESEN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    As the open enrollment period begins, it’s time to review your coverage.
  5. The Medicare Handbook for 2020 is a good resource to have as the annual open enrollment period gets under way. The government usually mails beneficiaries a copy. Find a PDF version to print at medicare.gov/pub/medicare-you-handbook, or call 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE) to order a copy. THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The open enrollment period, which lasts into December, is a time for millions of beneficiaries to review, and possibly change, their coverage.
  6. Medicare's online Plan Finder has been redesigned and is available at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The most-used tool on Medicare.gov will look different this year.
  7. Jim Tolbert, left, staffs a booth at a senior expo for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, or SHINE, a state program that answers Medicare and other insurance questions. The program has scheduled a number of events around the Tampa Bay area during Medicare's open enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Times (2015)
    About 500 volunteers statewide are at the ready. They work for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, or SHINE, now in its 28th year.
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Fort Myers woman stepped in front of the plane and was struck.
  9. James Dailey, 73, is set to be executed on Nov. 7 for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. Tampa Bay Times
    James Dailey’s execution remains set for Nov. 7. On Monday, a judge denied efforts to overturn his death sentence after a former prosecutor testified.
  10. Investigators are collecting evidence at the scene of a fatal stabbing on the 4000 block of 68th Street N. The victim was trying to break into a house, the Sheriff's Office said. KATHRYN VARN   |   TIMES  |  Kathryn Varn
    The dead man had sneaked out of a group home a block away. It’s unlikely charges will be filed, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement