UPDATE: VCSO, SHERIFF ARREST FUGITIVE FROM RECENT DRUG TRAFFICKING OPERATION
Fleeing Driver, 23, Found With Dangerous Amount of Fentanyl
Volusia County sheriff’s deputies and Sheriff Mike Chitwood arrested a 23-year-old Daytona Beach fugitive Friday night after he fled from an attempted traffic stop and a dangerous amount of fentanyl was found in his vehicle.
Key’Shaun Martin (DOB 5-22-1996) was wanted on drug-trafficking charges following a recent major narcotics investigation in Volusia County. Known as “Operation Smooth Criminal,” that yearlong investigation was unveiled May 16 when members of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the Volusia Bureau of Investigation dismantled an organization responsible for distributing heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in Volusia County and beyond. Ringleaders and several other members were arrested with more arrests expected.
Martin was arrested Friday night after being spotted driving a vehicle with a stolen license tag. As a deputy attempted a traffic stop, Martin immediately fled the scene.
The sheriff’s helicopter Air 1 was alerted and followed the vehicle, a black Infinity, as it sped recklessly through neighborhoods in Daytona Beach, Holly Hill and Ormond Beach. Stop sticks were deployed at two different locations and the vehicle finally came to a rest near the intersection of Seville Street and South Ridgewood Avenue in Ormond Beach.
The driver, identified as Martin, was taken into custody without incident. Deputies and detectives searched the vehicle and located multiple phones, scales containing narcotic residue and multiple plastic bags. Deputies and detectives surmised the contents of the bags were emptied into a beverage cup in the vehicle and tested positive for liquid fentanyl.
At least 239 grams of fentanyl were located in the vehicle – a dangerous amount that has the capacity to kill hundreds of people.
Martin had an active warrant for his arrest on charges of conspiracy to traffic heroin and unlawful use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a crime with a $250,000 bond.
“This arrest illustrates our commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic here in our county and stopping scumbags like Key’Shaun Martin from further trafficking deadly heroin and fentanyl, which is killing members of our community,” Sheriff Chitwood said Saturday. “The amount of fentanyl Martin had in his possession at the time of his arrest could have easily killed hundreds, if not thousands of people and I’m confident that his arrest has prevented another overdose in our county.”
Martin was charged with conspiracy to traffic heroin 28 grams or more; unlawful use of a two-way communication device to commit a crime; flee/att to elude with lights siren active; drug offense (felony); petit theft first offense. He remains held at the Volusia County Branch Jail on $1,007,000 bail.
**ORIGINAL NEWS RELEASE FROM MAY 16 APPEARS BELOW:
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DRUG DISTRIBUTION RING DISMANTLED, SOUTH FLORIDA SUPPLIER ARRESTED IN ‘OPERATION SMOOTH CRIMINAL’
Today, after an extensive, more than yearlong investigation, members of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and Volusia Bureau of Investigation dismantled a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing heroin, fentanyl and cocaine on the streets of Volusia County and beyond. The ringleaders and several other members were arrested, with additional arrests expected in the future. The investigation also led to the identification of the organization’s supplier, who was arrested today in South Florida.
Among the items seized in Volusia County today were significant amounts of fentanyl, at least a quarter million dollars in cash, luxury vehicles and 20 firearms.
The investigation, which started in 2018 and was dubbed “Operation Smooth Criminal,” resulted in arrest warrants for more than 20 individuals on trafficking charges, including the ringleaders, Marcel “MJ” Green of Daytona Beach and Robert Hamilton Jr. of Ormond Beach. Those two men and 6 other local suspects were arrested during a series of raids Thursday morning. Arrest warrants are active for 14 more suspects.
This afternoon, acting on information from this VBI operation, members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force conducted a traffic stop on Kenneth Rowell (DOB 9/5/1974) of Pembroke Pines, and discovered a trafficking amount of narcotics in his vehicle. He will be facing trafficking conspiracy charges from VBI in addition to any charges in South Florida.
Three of the guns recovered from search warrant locations in Volusia County were reported stolen, including a shotgun taken in a car break of a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle in 2016.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood and Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri told reporters at a Thursday afternoon news conference that the arrests and arrest warrants represented a major dent in drug activity in Volusia County, much of which has been the subject of complaints to both agencies.
“You’re talking 3 kilos of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine hitting our streets on a weekly basis,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “These clowns are out there murdering people with the poison they’re dealing, because human life is cheap on the streets.” The sheriff asked for the public to continue sending in tips and information about drug activity in their neighborhoods: “It's imperative that the community continues to funnel information to us. It's imperative, because we're only as good as the information you give us.”
“The members of this massive drug trafficking ring thought they were clever enough to get away with selling deadly opioids to Floridians, but they couldn’t outsmart Sheriff Chitwood’s deputies and our Statewide Prosecutors,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose Office of Statewide Prosecution will be taking the cases. “This is the second massive opioid takedown on Florida’s East Coast this month, and these arrests should serve as a strong warning to anyone trying to sell poison to Floridians—that we will catch you and you will pay for your crimes.”
In early 2018, the Volusia Bureau of Investigation (VBI) and East Volusia Narcotics Task Force (EVNTF) identified Green’s organization as responsible for distributing multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine on a monthly basis in east Volusia County. Detectives worked to identify various members of the organization, most of whom had significant criminal histories. All combined, the criminal histories of those connected to the organization total more than 300 felony charges and 124 felony convictions, which included narcotics offenses and violent crimes.
Enforcement action taken throughout the course of the investigation resulted in the seizure of significant amounts of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. It’s also believed the organization is connected to multiple overdose deaths that remain under active investigation by the VCSO’s Major Case Unit. There were approximately 300 overdose deaths in Volusia County over the past two years.
The defendants in custody as of this writing are:
Search warrants were executed today at the following locations:
The Volusia Bureau of Investigation is a Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative led by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office with participation from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Daytona Beach Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, DeLand Police Department, Edgewater Police Department and New Smyrna Beach Police Department. The FBI Safe Streets Task Force also participated in this operation.