The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested 103 people in a three-county prescription drug trafficking investigation.
The agency announced the arrests Wednesday morning after an eight-month investigation in Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties that resulted in the seizure of more than 1,500 prescription pills.
Nineteen people in Flagler County were arrested Wednesday morning in a countywide warrant sweep.
"This operation has removed an ugly growth on Flagler County. Through the combined efforts of regional law enforcement agencies, we were able to identify, target and today arrest these people who have been feeding off the market for illegal prescription pills," said Flagler County Sheriff Donald Fleming.
The North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force discussed "Operation Pain Management" during a Wednesday afternoon news conference at the Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Bunnell.
In Putnam County, 68 people were arrested.
"The illegal diversion and sale of prescription drugs has been a problem for many years, but it has clearly become Putnam County's number one drug problem over the past two or three," said Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy. "This prescription drug epidemic impacts nearly every family in one way or another."
Six people were arrested in St. Johns County.
"Prescription pain pill addiction has had a devastating impact on Florida and the families who have suffered tragic losses over these drugs," added St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar. "It is our responsibility as law enforcement to ensure prescription drugs remain in the hands of those they have been prescribed to and continue to be vigilant in assisting those who are suffering from the addiction."
Since March 2011, Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Force members' efforts statewide have resulted in 2,835 arrests (including 46 doctors) and the seizure of 723,172 pharmaceutical pills, 90 vehicles, 474 weapons and $9,725,917. Additionally, 254 clinics have been closed.