A proactive effort by federal and local law enforcement to curb illegal drug and gun sales in the Daytona area wraps up with over 60 people facing charges.
“Operation Pay Dirt” – a joint initiative between the Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – culminated today (January 22, 2021) with officials from both organizations taking many of those people into custody on open warrants, mostly for selling and delivering illegal drugs and guns to undercover officers. Efforts to capture the others who are wanted are ongoing.
Operation Pay Dirt began in the summer of 2020 but was ramped up last November as a response to a sudden increase of violent crime in Daytona Beach, including various shootings which led to four murders. As investigators worked the cases, it was clear that there were connections with known armed narcotics traffickers, according to DBPD Chief Jakari Young.
“Many of the people we’re putting handcuffs on have extensive criminal histories,” Young stated. “They aren’t tied to a specific organization but they were an ongoing threat to our community. We had to get them behind bars before anyone else got hurt or killed.”
ATF and DBPD officials opted for a proactive approach, sending undercover officers into areas where they could purchase illegal drugs or guns from many of those who are now being charged in Operation Pay Dirt.
“Our long-standing partnership with DBPD has been instrumental in addressing this spike in violent crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Craig W. Saier. “DBPD’s efforts in confronting firearms related crime have been commendable.”
Among the types of drugs recovered include crack cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, MDMA, methamphetamine and oxycontin. The amounts recovered led to armed drug trafficking charges for some of the defendants.
Over 35 guns were also recovered by law enforcement during this effort.
The names and charges of the defendants are posted in the photo below. Most of these people are facing local and state charges.
There are additional defendants in Operation Pay Dirt who will face federal charges. Any inquiries about that can be made to ATF Tampa Field Division Public Information Officer Mary Harmon Eliason (firstname.lastname@example.org).