Polk County Sheriff’s Office seized a total of 20 firearms, 1,500 pounds of meth, about 25 pounds of THC edibles, 2,500 Xanax pills, and 2.4 pounds of marijuana.By Casey Albritton

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Sheriff Grady Judd says their most recent drug bust resulted in the largest methamphetamine seizure in Polk County history. Six people involved in the drug trafficking operation are now behind bars and three of them are facing charges in Polk County and authorities say this case may become even larger than its current scope.

Credit: PCSO | CW44 News At 10

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In early 2021, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) initiated a joint investigation of a drug trafficking organization with ties to the Juarez Mexican Drug Cartel. The primary drug trafficking broker operated from a federal prison in Georgia.

The investigation began on January 14, 2021, when a parcel shipped from Quebec, Canada containing approximately 2,500 Xanax pills was intercepted by investigators. PCSO undercover detectives conducted a controlled delivery at 3237 Xerxes Avenue NW in Winter Haven and arrested 37-year-old Amber Cayson of Winter Haven. Also seized at the residence was 24 pounds of THC edibles, 2.4 pounds of marijuana, and a pound of methamphetamine.

As the investigation progressed, PCSO detectives learned of a suspected drug trafficker in Georgia, 37-year-old Brian Stanton, known as “Lil B,” who was arranging for the sale and delivery of methamphetamine in Polk County. Stanton is currently incarcerated in the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta.

During the investigation, Stanton, from within the federal prison in Atlanta, coordinated and arranged with undercover detectives the purchase and delivery of approximately 26 pounds of methamphetamine from Georgia to Polk County, Florida.

On March 13, 2021, 43-year-old Jennifer Meers of Stone Mountain, Georgia delivered a suitcase with 12 large clear storage bags containing 26 pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover detective at a hotel in Lakeland. After the delivery, Meers, who is on federal probation for drug trafficking, left the hotel and returned to Georgia.

On March 19, 2021, Stanton, still from within the federal prison, arranged for another 35 pounds of methamphetamine to be delivered by Meers to PCSO undercover detectives.

On March 30, 2021, HSI and PCSO undercover detectives arranged to pick up the drugs from inside Meers’ personally owned truck near her place of employment in Atlanta.

When they retrieved the narcotics from Meers’ truck, they found luggage with 16 vacuum sealed bags containing approximately 35 pounds of methamphetamine.

A short time later, Meers was arrested on a Polk County Sheriff’s Office warrant by the Sandy Springs Georgia Police Department during a traffic stop.

During an interview, Meers told detectives that Stanton coordinated the delivery of the methamphetamine and that he pays her $500 for every kilo (2.2 pounds) of methamphetamine she delivers.

Meers’ arrest led investigators to the location of 3 methamphetamine conversion labs in Georgia. HSI agents and local Georgia law enforcement officers served search warrants at 8 locations in Georgia, arrested 3, and seized 1,416 pounds of crystalized and liquid methamphetamine.

During their search of one of the illegal conversion labs located in College Park, Georgia, HSI agents and local law enforcement officers discovered and dismantled an illegal rooster fighting ring belonging to 59-year-old Isidoro Palacios.

HSI investigators have associated this illegal drug trafficking organization with the Juarez Mexican Cartel, a brutally violent cartel known for its targeted executions and violence.

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“Some people still call this low-level, non-violent drugs. These drug dealers have blood on their hands. They make money off the misery of others. They use violence as a means to enforce their trafficking business. We seized 20 firearms during this investigation, including rifles, shotguns, handguns, and three stolen guns. Methamphetamine destroys lives, degrades communities, and ruins families. Through our partnership with Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies in Florida and Georgia, our detectives took a huge amount of meth off the street and shut down an active drug trafficker operating out of a federal prison.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

Investigation Summary:
• 5 suspects arrested
• 1 federal inmate charged
• 20 firearms seized (3 were reported as stolen)
• 5 vehicles seized (1 was reported as a stolen vehicle)
• Approximately 1500 pounds of methamphetamine seized (street value: approximately $53.8 million)
• Approximately 24.8 pounds of THC edibles seized (street value: approximately $8,480)
• Approximately 2.4 pounds of marijuana (street value: approximately $7,000)
• Approximately 2,500 Xanax pills seized (street value: approximately $25,000)
TOTAL STREET VALUE: $53,854,640

Those arrested on Polk County charges are:

37-year-old Amber Cayson who resides at 3237 Xerxes Avenue NW, Winter Haven. Cayson is charged with:
• Trafficking in methamphetamine (F1)
• Possession of a structure for drug trafficking (F2)
• Possession of Xanax with intent to sell (F3)
• Possession of marijuana with intent to sell (F3)
• Possession of marijuana over 20 grams (F3)
• Possession of marijuana resin (edibles) (F3)
• Possession of drug paraphernalia (M1)

Cayson is currently in the Polk County Jail with no bond. She was incarcerated in state prison in 2006, and her previous criminal history includes 16 felonies and 31 misdemeanors, to include charges of petit theft, forgery, fraud, possession methamphetamine, possession of Xanax possession of marijuana, driving with a suspended license, and multiple probation violations.

43-year-old Jennifer Meers who resides at 467 Allana Court, Stone Mountain, Georgia. Meers is charged with:
• Conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine (F1)
• Trafficking in methamphetamine (F1)
• Possessing a vehicle for drug trafficking (F2)
• Unlawful use of a two-way communication device (F3)
• Possession of drug paraphernalia (M1)

Meers was on federal probation for drug trafficking at the time of her arrest. She is currently in the Polk County Jail with no bond. Meers’ previous criminal history includes 22 arrests in Georgia to include charges of drug trafficking, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, DUI, battery, theft, fraud, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, and multiple probation violations.

37-year-old Brian Stanton is currently incarcerated in the Atlanta US Penitentiary, Georgia. His current sentence runs through 2040. He is facing Polk County, Florida charges of:
• Conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine (F1)
• Trafficking in methamphetamine (F1)
• Unlawful use of a two-way communication device (F3)

Stanton’s criminal history includes 26 arrests in Georgia to include charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, threatening a law enforcement officer, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and numerous parole and probation violations.

Other related arrests:

30-year-old Crescencio Ornelas-Loza who resides in Fairburn, Georgia was arrested by the Henry County Police Department. He is in the United States illegally. Ornelas-Loza is charged with theft by receiving stolen property. His criminal history includes 4 arrests in Georgia. Three for driving without a valid license and one charge for theft by receiving stolen property.

50-year-old Luis Ornelas-Martinez was arrested by HSI agents and the Henry County Police Department at his residence located on 321 ASA Moseley Road in Stockbridge, Georgia. Ornelas-Martinez is in the United States illegally and is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.  His criminal history includes 2 arrests in Georgia with charges of trafficking in cocaine, illegal drug possession, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and driving without a valid license.

59-year-old Isidoro Palacios was arrested at a methamphetamine lab located at 5359 Stonewall Tell Road in College Park, Georgia. HSI agents and South Fulton County Police Department arrested Palacios and seized 77 pounds of methamphetamine, a stolen vehicle, and a stolen shotgun. Palacios is charged with trafficking methamphetamine, theft by receiving stolen property, and animal cruelty (stemming from the illegal rooster fighting ring). He is currently in Fulton County Jail with a $100,000 bond. His criminal history includes 11 arrests in Georgia to include charges of DUI, trafficking in methamphetamine, willful obstruction of law enforcement, and driving without a license. Palacios has also been arrested in Florida three times for driving without a license.

 

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This story was originally published on April 30, 2021 and update reflects details of arrests.