VCSO: Operation Heavyweight takes down heroin distribution ring

The ringleader, supplier and nearly 20 other members of a heroin trafficking ring responsible for distributing large amounts of the drug in Volusia County are now behind bars, after a nearly yearlong investigation by the Volusia Bureau of Investigation and Deltona Narcotics Enforcement Team, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

Gant said as of Tuesday afternoon, the multiple arrests during "Operation Heavyweight" put the majority of the organization's membership behind bars.

"These peddlers of death are responsible for the overwhelming amount of heroin sold in Deltona," Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters gathered for a news conference at which he announced the arrests Tuesday afternoon.

Alleged ringleader Henry Guilfu "Gordo" Bermudez was arrested at his home on Champlain Drive in Deltona, which he shared with three other suspects. Bermudez's alleged supplier, 41-year-old Salvador Cancel Castillo, was arrested at his home on Candlewyck Drive in Orlando.

Throughout the better part of a year, detectives built a case through interviews with confidential sources, controlled drug purchases, trash analysis, and surveillance on the homes of Bermudez and Castillo, according to Gant.

Detectives also obtained wire intercepts that helped establish the identities of all 23 members of the ring, Gant said.

Gant said four search warrants were issued and executed as a result of the investigation: one at the Deltona home of Bermudez; the Orlando home of Castillo; the Lake Drive, DeBary, home of suspect Josuel Garcia; and the Roland Drive, Deltona, home of suspect Mariano Perez.

Those search warrants resulted in the seizure of $150,000 in heroin (about a kilo-and-a-half), some mixed with fentanyl, in addition to an undetermined amount of cash.

The heroin was enough for an estimated 15,000 doses, according to Gant.

Deltona City Commissioner Anita Bradford also attended Tuesday's news conference and delivered a message to dealers: "Get your drugs out of my town, and go somewhere else."

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