Commissioner Bailey Announces Regional Drug Strike Force Co-Chairs


Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Gerald Bailey today announced the co-chairs of Florida’s seven new multi-agency Regional Drug Strike Forces.  The co-chairs, which consist of chiefs and sheriffs from each of FDLE’s seven regions, will lead focused and intensive enforcement operations that target unlawful distribution points for pharmaceutical drugs in their respective local areas.  Commissioner Bailey serves as the coordinator of the Statewide Drug Strike Force which was created on March 28 by Governor Rick Scott to attack the criminal distribution of prescription drugs in Florida.

The Statewide and Regional Task Forces will work in conjunction with Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and local state attorneys, state and federal law enforcement, state regulatory agencies, and pharmaceutical distributors.
The Regional Drug Strike Force co-chairs were selected by the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association and are as follows:
Pensacola         Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen and Panama City Police Chief John Van Etten
Tallahassee      Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter and Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones
Jacksonville     Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Alachua Police Chief Joel DeCoursey, Jr.
Tampa Bay      Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee and St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon
Orlando           Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Winter Park Police Chief Brett Railey
Ft. Myers         Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and Naples Police Chief Tom Weschler
Miami              Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and Sunrise Police Chief John Brooks
“Our plan is intensive, focused and proactive,” said Commissioner Bailey. “Law enforcement across the state is joining forces and aggressively moving in to attack this issue. If you are unlawfully dealing in pharmaceuticals, be assured - you will be a target.”
During a March 29 meeting in Orlando representatives from more than 100 representatives from 34 federal, state, and local law enforcement, health and regulatory agencies convened to identify resources, develop operational plans, and begin prioritizing investigative targets. On March 31, the law enforcement leadership from 12 state agencies convened for a second meeting in Tallahassee. Approximately $800,000 in grant funds has been identified for operational expenses and overtime and will be dispensed between the seven Regional Strike Forces.
Members of the public who have information regarding unlawful pharmaceutical distribution are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency or FDLE regional office.
For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001