Law enforcement in the Keys holds a serious line on fentanyl

Monroe County State’s Attorney Dennis Ward joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning about the goings on in his office.

One of the primary topics that is discussed all over the country is fentanyl – and the Keys are not unaffected.

Ward said, “Sheriff Ramsay and his crew and Chief Brandenburg and his guys, they’re doing a great job in trying to keep this stuff off the streets. We’ll do whatever it takes to do that.”

There have been more than 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States and 76 percent of those were fentanyl related.

Ward said, “I’ve made the statement time and again that if you’re down here selling fentanyl, we’ll catch you eventually and we’re going to put you in jail for as long as we possibly can.”

The dealers of fentanyl can be charged with murder if a death occurs from a fentanyl sale.

Ward said, “We’ll file a murder charge every time we get the chance, that’s what we’re going to do.”

A home in Marathon was raided last week where 4.5 grams of fentanyl was discovered – and when a few grains can kill someone, that is a significant amount.

Ward explained, “The chemicals are produced in China and China delivers those to Mexico. One of the DEA investigations showed a significant amount of that coming from Mexico to the biggest produce supplier in New York and the eastern seaboard in the Bronx.”

Would there be a way to stop it at the source?

Ward said, “The biggest problem is the lack of security at our border. The customs people and border patrol people, they’re making arrests at least one or two a month with a huge amount of fentanyl involved, in spite of being understaffed and undermanned and being restrained by the federal government. Those guys are doing a great job, but we could do a better job if we had some type of order down on our border.”

Fentanyl has now started to be combined with something called tranq and NARCAN can’t bring people back from that deadly mixture.

Ward said, “It’s even more powerful. So it’s just getting more dangerous and people that are responsible for trying to keep this out of our country are doing nothing about it.”

The Keys has also seen a number of people working as unlicensed contractors recently.

Ward said, “It’s a great project for the law enforcement agencies in Monroe County because eventually you’re going to run into situations where homeowners are signing contracts with these people that have no insurance. If they fall on your property, you’re responsible. There’s all kinds of problems with having unlicensed contractors on your property.”

When it comes to the indictment of former president Donald Trump, Ward’s thoughts concern fairness.

He said, “I don’t think the former president is going to be able to get a fair trial up there in Manhattan. This district attorney, he campaigned on the fact that he was going to get Trump. That was his campaign promise and obviously he got elected. When you have an indictment like that, the accused, the defendant has a right to know what he’s being charged with. They voted him in to go after Trump. That’s my concerns. You look at the judge and the jury pool, how is this guy going to get a fair trial?”