PANAMA CITY, FLA. (WMBB) — On Friday the Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced a drug bust, confiscating 13 pounds of crystal meth, along with four ounces of black tar heroin and 4.5 ounces of fentanyl mixture.
The Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in meth and fentanyl mixtures throughout Bay County, but Sheriff Tommy Ford said it’s rare to see black tar heroin.
“This fentanyl heroin is what we see responsible for the majority of drug overdoses in Bay County,” Ford said.
A heroin fentanyl mixture is the primary reason for overdoses throughout the county, Ford said.
“The first six months of this year we saw about 150 drug overdoses with about 15 of those being fatal,” Ford said. “So these are deadly, deadly substances. This amount of methamphetamine is a very large trafficking quantity.”
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office pulled a vehicle over at a traffic stop on Panama City Beach Parkway on Aug. 5. Throughout the stop, deputies became suspicious of the drivers.
An investigation showed that the two people arrested, Alejandra Casas-Mendez, a 38-year old woman, and Oscar Leiva-Casas Junior, a 19-year old man, were from California.
The vehicle the two were driving had crossed over the U.S. — Mexican border nine times over the past 12 months. The most recent time the vehicle crossed the southwestern border was July 6.
“We keep talking about where do these drugs come from, or why are we seeing them in these quantities,” Ford said. And it’s because our southwest border is completely open. These drugs come from nowhere else but across that southwest border.”
As large drug busts become more common, Ford has become more frustrated with the challenges law enforcement face.
“We are very frustrated in law enforcement and seeing these quantities of drugs come across the southwest border and killing people here in the United States.”