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Orlando Theme Parks and Drug Rings, Oh My!

Many kids all across the country—even around the world—share a dream of experiencing the renowned theme parks in Orlando, Florida. Commonly referred to as the Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando is home to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Epcot and Magic Kingdom, Discovery Cove, SeaWorld Orlando, and somewhat lesser-known parks like Aquatica Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida.

These many parks offer a variety of family-friendly activities and adventures that range from water slides to miniature safaris through the African grasslands, from rollercoasters to tours of famous movie sets, and everything in between. Iconic sights like Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Shamu the whale at SeaWorld are on the itineraries of countless families who traffic through Orlando on vacation throughout the year, making memories that are cherished for a lifetime.

Despite the lighthearted nature of Orlando’s theme parks and resultant booming tourism industry, there is a known dark side that lurks just beneath the colorful façade of the Theme Park Capital of the World. We’ve learned time and again that substance abuse and addiction can penetrate even the darkest and most remote corners of the world, and Orlando—known for being a mecca of fun for the whole family—is no different. In fact, the frequently with which there are drug rings discovered in Orlando illustrated the severity of addiction in all parts of the world.

The Rollercoaster of Drug Rings in Orlando

It’s already happened more times than one could hope to count, but somehow they just keep coming. Orlando-area drug rings seem almost are widespread as the area’s numerous theme parks with illicit substances ranging the gamut from the herbal to the narcotic and even the pharmaceutical. It’s disconcerting that a city that’s home to many theme parks that haunt the imaginations of youths across the world can also be such a mecca of the drug trade.

In July 2014, an Orlando drug ring consisting of at least 10 Central Florida residents distributing marijuana, cocaine, molly, and a number of other substances was taken down after months of investigation. Using a combination of controlled buyers, informants, and authorized phone interceptions with taps on four separate phones, officials were able to paint a picture of the ring’s activities in the greater Orlando area.

Members of the group were found to have negotiated with other deals in the area on the cost of a number of drugs and substances, which also included liquid THC as well as those listed above, via phone conversations and encoded text messages. Once the evidence was gathered, police were charging five individuals with trafficking cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, and possession with the intent to deliver marijuana. One member of the group was found to be in possession of upward of 800 grams of cocaine when his home was searched. Each of those who were arrested of part of the drug ring’s bust was facing sentences of up to 90 years with two of them facing a minimum of 15 years each.

This past spring in March 2015, it was reported that an astounding 24 people were arrested in conjunction with a ring of drug trafficking and other crimes. An investigation that spanned almost two years led up to a recent search of eight separate residences, turning up semi-automatic rifles, high-powered handguns—49 total guns as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition—two bulletproof vests, $160,000 in cash, and $250,000 in other assets, including vehicles and jewelry.

The individuals involved with this particular Orlando-based drug ring are alleged to be especially dangerous, implicated in several heroin-related deaths and even the attempted killing of an officer during an arrest. What’s more, officials even believe that the ring has had involvement with local prostitution and even a string of home invasions. With the help of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Central Florida police officers have made 24 arrests and made 15 searches after warrants had been issued.

Early this month in June 2015, an Orlando-based drug ring involved in the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine was dismantled by officials, leading to the arrests of another 10 individuals who were complicit in the ring’s distributing countless pounds of crystal meth to dealers in the Central Florida region. In addition to the trafficking of meth, the members of this meth ring were also being charged with racketeering and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine. The man who ran the ring, who is 49 years old, had only been out of jail for a month after serving a one-year sentence for meth trafficking, indicating that no sooner was he released from jail that he was operating a meth ring once again.

As they investigated this man, police witnessed him bringing pounds and pounds of crystal methamphetamine, alleged to be of a very high purity, into his home, breaking them down into smaller ounce-sized bags before transporting and delivering them to dealers in almost every county in Central Florida. Officials observed the man as he stayed awake for five straight days, delivering the crystal meth on his rounds throughout Central Florida.

Officials also say that the meth that was delivered was worth up to $25,000 per pound, or up to $1,600 per ounce. When the man’s house was searched, police found $6,000 in cash, several ounces of crystal meth, bags of marijuana and prescription pills, and no weapons. The man’s wife and son lived with him and are both believed to have been involved in the meth-trafficking ring to an extensive degree.

Recover from Addiction Today

Those who are involved in drug rings have adopted very dangerously, erratic lifestyles. For these individuals, addiction has not only led to physical dependency, but also to violence and crime. Many of the individuals involved in these rings are involved with trafficking and distribution of drugs across large regions, responsible for supplying drugs to addicts in many areas while also having to sustain their own addictions as well. It’s a tenuous, unpredictable game with lengthy prison sentences and death being as common an end for these individuals as sunburns are for families who spend all day at Magic Kingdom under the hot Florida sun.

If your or someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help. Our recovery specialists have helped numerous addicts to recover from chemical dependency and find a new start with a healthy, productive, fulfilled life. Call us today.