by: Romney Smith Updated:MACCLENNY, Fla. —
Five men are facing federal charges of conspiracy to sell more than 50 grams of pure meth. During Operation Summer Ice, U.S. Attorney of the Middle District of Florida, A. Lee Bentley says the men face charges for conspiring to sell pure meth in Baker, Duval, and Nassau counties in Florida and in Bacon County, Georgia.
"This methamphetamine has been a problem for nearly two decades now," said Bentley.
Investigators say a source in Georgia led them to Chase Lee who was working with Archie Crook of Baker County. Officials say Crook partnered with Robert Hartzog, Garrett Follis, and Anthony Fisher to sell meth. Chad Cook with the Drug Enforcement Administration says an apartment complex in Baker County was a connecting point for the meth he says isn't local.
"In this case the defendants were distributing meth that was up to 98 percent pure which typically means the meth was manufactured in Mexico and then brought into the United States for distribution," said Cook.
Randy Crews with the Baker County Sheriff's Office says over the course of a year several pounds of pure crystal meth was being distributed by the group. Crews says three of the men admitted to selling between 15-20 pounds of meth which has a street value estimated between $600,000-$800,000.
Sheriff Joey Dobson hopes this arrest and the 10-year minimum mandatory federal prison sentence will serve as a warning to others.
"Once You start this in Baker or Clay or Nassau or Duval or anywhere else, we will find you and we will come get you," said Dobson.
Bentley says Crook, Hartsog and Folice pleaded guilty and will be sentenced this fall. Lee and Fisher will be tried in Jacksonville later this year.
Investigators say this is still an open investigation and more arrests could come.