Walton deputies, federal authorities bust major drug trafficking ring

Walton County

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Nearly 20 pounds of crystal meth as well as more than 600 grams of heroin are off the streets in Walton County.

Investigators said 29 people are facing state drug trafficking charges and another 15 have been indicted on federal drug trafficking.

Officials are calling this drug bust ‘Operation Mr. Clean’ and said the investigation started 18 months ago with what would have been a possession charge.

Walton County Sheriff, Mike Adkinson, said not making that first arrest was a key to success in the operation.

“Let’s watch this, let’s keep going, let’s be professional and thoughtful about it,” Adkinson said. “It ended up in multiple wire taps which are very significant, very time consuming, very difficult.”

Officials began looking at James Young and Shelley Johnson and said Young and Johnson were running a meth, heroin and fentanyl drug trafficking operation at Johnson’s home in Freeport.

“We started realizing it was a multi-kilo a week, that was pretty quick that we said ‘Hey, we’re not going to go the short one, we’re going to sit, we’re going to go the long haul,” Adkinson said. “We knew pretty quickly what we’re dealing with.”

Officials said Young routinely picked up multiple pounds of meth, heroin and fentanyl from Atlanta and began distributing it from Johnson’s home in Freeport.

U.S. Attorney for the North Florida district, Laurence Keefe, said this operation was a perfect example of federal and local agencies coming together to protect their citizens.

“That’s when you see the DEA working with local folks like Sheriff Adkinson and all the police departments and everybody that’s been involved in this operation and it’s a very, very, very beautiful thing to watch,” Keefe said.

Sheriff Adkinson said their work is still not finished. Of the 44 people who are connected to the drug trafficking operation, 13 are still wanted for arrest on state or federal drug trafficking charges.

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