An undercover investigation by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force culminated in the arrest yesterday (Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003) of a Wahneta man on drug trafficking charges and the seizure of 5 pounds of Meth.
Venancio Lopez, DOB 5/18/56, of 321 Ridgeview in Wahneta, was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine (in excess of 200 grams). He was booked into the Polk County Jail on $1 Million bond.
HIDTA Task Force members from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Lakeland Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, Border Patrol and the DEA, participated in the joint undercover investigation that began in April. During the investigation, Lopez sold an undercover detective one pound of Meth in April, and arranged to deliver four more pounds yesterday at a parking lot located at Combee and US92 in Lakeland. Lopez was arrested upon delivery of the Meth to undercover detectives. The five pounds of seized Meth carries a street value of approximately $28,000.
HIDTA is a federally grant-funded task force consisting of Polk County Sheriff's detectives and officers from other agencies who are sworn by the Sheriff to enforce the laws in the county as well as their own jurisdictions. The HIDTA grant was designed for the I-4 corridor drug traffic area. The corridor consists of every county adjacent to the I-4 area. The grant allows monies for training, equipment, purchasing evidence and payment of confidential informants.