Heroin, like cocaine and marijuana, seems to inspire an endless supply of monikers once the drug hits the streets.
After a six-month investigation into local drug dealing, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office last month confiscated 5,500 heroin packages, some of which included an image of the president’s face and name, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, addressing the media at the Hernando County Emergency Operations Center on Friday, was not amused, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“All I want to say to this drug dealer is, ‘Big mistake by putting the president’s picture on this,’ ” said Bondi. “Big mistake. Because he is going to be our most fierce advocate in taking this junk off of our streets. Can you believe this? Big mistake.”
She added: “I’m going to make sure [Trump] gets one of these packages when the case is all over to put in the Oval Office to remind him of all the good he’s doing.”
Bondi found herself at the center of a controversy during the presidential campaign last year, when it emerged that Trump had failed to disclose an improper $25,000 contribution to a political group connected to the Florida Republican, who was at the time considering whether to open a fraud investigation against Trump University.
The donation, made in 2013 by the Donald J. Trump Foundation, violated federal rules that prohibit charities from donating to political candidates, The Washington Post reported in September. Trump and his team also failed to disclose the gift to the Internal Revenue Service, instead reporting that the donation was given to an unrelated group with a similar name — effectively obscuring the contribution.
Trump brushed off questions about the donation in September, saying: “I’ve just known Pam Bondi for years. I have a lot of respect for her. Never spoke to her about that at all. And just have a lot of respect for her as a person. And she has done an amazing job as the attorney general of Florida. She is very popular.”
@HernandoSheriff says this is the largest heroin bust in county history. This packet has @realDonaldTrump face on it @BN9 pic.twitter.com/EN7qT3XeK3— Leah Masuda (@LeahMasuda) February 3, 2017
@HernandoSheriff seizes 5,500 doses of heroin. Suspect in custody. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/AKJDUAytvC— Leah Masuda (@LeahMasuda) February 3, 2017
The heroin bust — the largest in county history, according to Sheriff Al Nienhuis — also turned up heroin-filled envelopes named after Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Some bore the name of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug kingpin. Most of the drugs were seized Jan. 27, the Times reported, but authorities didn’t know why they were labeled with different faces.
Was it a political message? A joke?
Nobody can be sure.
Authorities are, however, sure about who is being blamed for allegedly bringing the drugs into the county: Kelvin Scott Johnson, a 46-year-old Hernando County man.
Johnson has been charged with heroin trafficking, cocaine possession and driving with a suspended license, according to Hernando County records. Johnson is being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond.
If convicted, Johnson faces 15 to 25 years in prison, the sheriff said.
“This individual is definitely someone that we don’t want selling poison to our brothers and our sisters and our sons and our daughters,” Nienhuis said, noting that Johnson has been arrested 13 times in Florida alone, according to the Times.
Nienhuis accused Johnson of purchasing heroin in the northeastern part of the United States and shipping it to Florida, where it was intercepted by a postal worker who alerted the sheriff’s office, according to WFLA. Once authorities had been alerted, detectives opened an investigation and began monitoring Johnson’s movement, the station reported.
The Times reported that detectives arrested Johnson during a traffic stop after he’d recently returned from the northeast. Inside his car, Neinhuis told the paper, investigators recovered a package with 5,000 doses of heroin at a street value of between $50,000 to $100,000.
The sheriff said that if 10 percent of the confiscated batch ended up in the hands of new users, it could have created 500 new addicts.
“It is the one area in law enforcement where we can be a little bit proactive and take this stuff off the street rather than responding to a death or an overdose or a burglary,” Nienhuis added. “We can hopefully prevent some of that stuff by working hard to get this stuff off the street.”