May 21, 2024

Citrus Times

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Sheriff’s Office makes largest fetanyl, meth bust in county history

3 min read

On Jan. 20, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) added another accomplishment into the history books by seizing 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine and 1.8 ounces of powdered fentanyl.

“This is the largest seizure of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Citrus County’s history. The amount of fentanyl seized could have killed hundreds of people,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast.

“My office is committed to keeping our citizens safe from these deadly narcotics. As I have said before, if you deal drugs in Citrus County, I am coming after you with my team. I am grateful for the outstanding law enforcement work by everyone involved in this case and their relentlessness to arrest drug dealers like Ricky Pope so they are no longer a threat to our community.”

Shortly after 1 p.m., on Thursday, Detective Mike Laborda conducted a traffic stop on a red Chevrolet Camaro. The driver, 56-year-old and three-time convicted felon Ricky Lee Pope of Dunnellon was behind the wheel. Pope was found to have a suspended driver’s license and was subsequently detained. During a search of Pope, Detective Laborda located drug paraphernalia.

Calling for back up, K9 Handler Deputy David Elias responded to the traffic stop with his partner K9 Odie, who alerted to the presence of narcotics at the vehicle’s trunk. During a search of the vehicle, detectives located a book bag that contained 12.2 grams of cannabis, a digital scale that tested positive for
methamphetamine residue, two pills that tested positive for MDMA, and a small clear plastic baggie with two crystal-like cubes that also tested positive for MDMA.

A further search of the vehicle revealed a tin container with methamphetamine and heroin inside. Detectives arrested Ricky Pope and charged him with the following:

  • Five counts of possession of a controlled substance
  • One count of possession of marijuana less than
    20 grams
  • One count of possession of drug paraphernalia
  • One count of tampering with evidence

The passenger of the vehicle, 33-year-old Justin Derrik Miner Pope of Hernando, was found to be in possession of a lunch box that contained alprazolam and methamphetamine. Justin Pope was arrested (total bond set at $4,000.00) and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Through information uncovered during the investigation, the CCSO’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) served a search warrant at the defendant’s residence located at 9075 North Arcadia Way in Citrus Springs, FL. Inside the home, TIU detectives discovered numerous illegal narcotics and firearms, to include:

  • 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine
  • 1.8 ounces of fentanyl
  • 3 fentanyl patches
  • 1.5 ounces of heroin
  • 3 pounds of hashish
  • 6.15 pounds of cannabis
  • 11 vials of HGH Steroids
  • Drug manufacturing equipment
  • 1.9 ounces of MDMA pills
  • One SKS Assault rifle with a 30 round magazine (loaded)
  • One Charter Arms .38 cal handgun with a silencer (loaded)
  • One Stevens 12 gauge tactical shotgun
  • One Benelli 12 gauge shotgun
  • One Springfield 410 shotgun
  • One Smith and Wesson .40 cal handgun
  • One Bulletproof vest
  • More than 300 rounds of ammunition

The total street value of the drugs seized in this operation is: $130,931.00.

Ricky Lee Pope was subsequently arrested (total bond set a $169,000.00) for the additional charges of:

  • One count of trafficking in heroin
  • One count of trafficking in fentanyl
  • One count of trafficking in methamphetamine Six counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon
  • One count of lease/rent place or structure for the purpose of trafficking
  • Two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell
  • Two counts of possession of a controlled substance
  • One count of possession of drug paraphernalia


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