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Drug Cases in Polk County, FL

Believe it or not, the budget request for drug control funding in the United States was $31.4 billion in the 2017 fiscal year. Some of those funds trickle down to state and local law enforcement agencies through the distribution of federal grant money. Some of that federal grant money goes to the Central Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Task Force with an annual budget of more than 3 million dollars.

As you can imagine, these federal grant programs play a major role in how drug cases are investigated and prosecuted in Polk County and throughout the state courts in Florida. In order to justify their existence, arrests must be made and cases must be prosecuted.

Many drug cases in Polk County, FL, involve the lowest level of participants who are working substantial assistance deals in an attempt to entrap other individuals who are slightly up the food chain. Officers in Polk County, FL, also rely on elaborate sting operations involving undercover officers and confidential informants that ensnare only the most unsophisticated participants. Those caught up in the sting operations are then offered substantial assistance deals and cooperative agreements of their own.

Rarely do these investigations impact the highest level participants involved in drug trafficking operations in Polk County. Although these programs were designed to dismantle drug trafficking into our communities, the operations have little impact on the actual supply and demand of drugs in this area. Nevertheless, these programs provide a lot of jobs and a lot money to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and related industries in and around Polk County, FL.

Most high-level drug cases in Polk County, FL, involve investigations by detectives with Central Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (CFHIDTA) Task Force. HIDTA is a multi-agency drug task force working in partnership with the White House, Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In Polk County and the surrounding areas in Central Florida, HIDTA Task Force Detectives conduct investigations into the distribution of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, ecstasy, fentany, carfentanil, hydrocodone, and marijuana.

In order to get the grant money and share in the proceeds from asset forfeitures, these local agencies have to follow strict reporting requirements including creating federal draw downs, re-programming, and reconciliation of payment ledgers, cooperative agreements, and period extensions. Monthly and quarterly reports on initiative and grant status are prepared for the CFHIDTA director.

Attorney for Drug Crimes Cases in Polk County, FL

If you were arrested for a serious drug crime in Polk County, FL, including drug trafficking or distribution, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We aggressively fight drug crime cases by filing and litigating motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained. Other motions filed in these cases can include motions to dismiss all of the charges when the evidence is not sufficient.

We understand how detectives with the Polk County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies use substantial assistance deals to set up sting operations in a controlled buy. We know the tactics used by undercover narcotics officers and the mistakes they used when working confidential informants.

We also understand the best ways to fight for the return of your property after an illegal asset forfeiture action. Our attorneys are familiar with the priorities set by HIDTA when seizing money and other property from the residence of Polk County. When an individual is suspected of dealing in drugs or other criminal activities, these civil and criminal contraband forfeiture proceedings often play a role in how the case is investigated and prosecuted.

Contact us to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500 to schedule a confidential consultation in the office.


Local Officers Involves in the Central Florida HIDTA Task Force

Several different federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Polk County, FL, are involved in the HIDTA task force including:

  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office;
  • Bartow Police Department;
  • Haines City Police Department;
  • Lake Wales Police Department; and
  • Winter Haven Police Department.

Each participating agency is expected to share information and has an assigned representative given limited access to the parent agency’s intelligence/law enforcement databases. The submission and dissemination of criminal intelligence information is conducted in accordance with Federal and State law, as well as National Security Agency guidelines governing the operation of similar federal law enforcement centers, and the provisions of 28, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 23, as outlined in the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

The agencies are required to adhere to Guidelines G4600.1 and subsequent modifications or revisions to these guidelines.


What is the HIDTA?

ONDCP administers the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) which is a grant program. The HIDTA program assists Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. HIDTA supports law enforcement efforts throughout Florida and the other 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

At the local level for drug crime prosecutions in Polk County, the Central Florida HIDTA controls the grant program in this part of Florida.


Additional Resources

Polk County’s HIDTA Drug Task Force - Visit the website of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about its involvement in HIDTA Drug Task Force.

Office of National Drug Control Policy - Created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, ONDCP works to reduce drug use by coordinating the development of drug policy in the United States and providing financial support through grant money to local law enforcement agencies on various task forces and to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, established by Executive Order on March 29, 2017. ONDCP coordinates the drug control activities for sixteen (16) different federal departments and agencies. ONDCP is responsible for the federal drug control budget, which is published annually in the National Drug Control Strategy: Budget and Performance Summary. Every year, ONDCP produces the National Drug Control Strategy which outlines the efforts of the administration to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking.

Central Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (CFHIDTA) Program - The mission of CFHIDTA is to disrupt the market for illegal drugs in central Florida by working with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies participating in the HIDTA program. Although investigations are supposed to be aimed at drug trafficking organizations, most entrap only the lowest level participants. The Central Florida Investigative Support Center (ISC) helps CFHIDTA initiatives by providing analytical support for their investigations. 


This article was last updated on Friday, May 11, 2018.