JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Undercover narcotics officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Tuesday who they said was suspected of using the homeless to sell narcotics.
Before the suspect could turn onto Liberty Street from Church Street, officers surrounded his vehicle. The officers said he was not ready to get out of the car, so they broke a window and pulled him out. The suspect was then searched and handcuffed.
A witness, whom News4Jax does not identify as a security measure, said he saw several heavily armed undercover officers surround the suspect’s car.
“The police were everywhere and they all had guns drawn and tasers drawn and they ran up to him and said, ‘Freeze. Put your hands up, put your hands up, put your hands up, ”said the witness.
According to police, the man was in possession of an unknown amount of crack cocaine and is suspected of being a drug dealer who uses the homeless to distribute drugs.
The witness News4Jax spoke to said he was recovering from a drug addiction and was aware of these tactics used by traffickers in certain downtown areas.
“I’ve seen this many times and I can describe some of them,” he said.
Ken Jefferson, News4Jax’s crime and security expert, said drug dealers are always looking for unsuspecting ways to sell drugs on the street. He said he wasn’t surprised that traders used vulnerable people to sell narcotics.
“There are many unlucky homeless people and some are desperate. Some will go out of their way to make money, to pay for something to eat or to find shelter, or to stay for a temporary period. The drug dealer knows that, ”Jefferson said.
Jefferson also said that when traffickers use this tactic, the homeless person who is caught goes to jail and the dealer simply moves on to find another vulnerable person who is distributing illegal drugs.
While it is unclear how many drug allegations the suspect has faced in Tuesday’s drug bankruptcy, News4Jax has confirmed that he was under heavy police surveillance.
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