Fentanyl and Meth Trafficking Suspects Arrested in Tampa

Yesterday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced the results of a 5-month, concentrated law enforcement effort to apprehend Tampa’s most violent drug traffickers. Roger Handberg, United States Attorney (USA) for the Middle District of Florida (MDFL) and Deanne Reuter, the DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC), joined Tampa Police Department (PD) Chief Lee Bercaw, and representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Tampa Field Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Tampa Field Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Tampa Regional Operations Center (TBROC), and the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) – 13th Judicial Circuit, to make the announcement this morning in Tampa, Florida. 

“Inherently, drug trafficking is linked to crime and violence, and no community, including Tampa, is immune. Operation Overdrive is an example of the important work we do together to keep our communities safe,” said Miami DEA Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter. “These results are a testament to the dangerous and important work of law enforcement, and the critical role our local, state and federal partner play in supporting their communities.” 

According to an official statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the, DEA initiated Operation Overdrive in 2022 with a data-driven, intelligence-led approach using national crime statistics and CDC data to identify hot spots of drug-related violence and overdose deaths across the country. The combined teams devoted their law enforcement resources to communities where criminal drug networks are causing the most harm.  

Starting in October 2022 the DEA Tampa District Office-led team of local, state, and federal partners mapped, identified, arrested, and prosecuted more than a dozen drug-traffickers in three investigations under Operation Overdrive Tampa. Beginning in October 2022 through March 2023, investigators seized 2.1 kilograms of cocaine, 4.07 kilograms of fentanyl, 3.82 kilograms of methamphetamine, .05 kilograms of oxycodone, .65 kilograms of marijuana, and .82 grams of heroin.    

“The success of ’Operation Overdrive’ is another example of the power of partnerships,” said Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw. “By working together with our federal partners at the DEA, we were able to target the root causes of drug-related violence and overdoses in our community. The results of this joint initiative demonstrate our shared dedication to data-driven policing and our commitment to making Tampa safer, together.” 

FDLE Tampa Bay Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said, “Fentanyl continues to be one of the top threats facing Florida and our nation and FDLE continues to tackle the issue head-on.  We are committed to taking down entire drug rings and doing all we can to protect our Florida families.” 

The DEA Tampa DO and Tampa PD led the Operation Overdrive Tampa investigations with substantial assistance from ATF Tampa, USPIS Tampa, and FDLE – Tampa Bay ROC.  The USAO MDFL and SAO – 13th Judicial Circuit handled the prosecutions.