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Pasco drug bust nets dozens of arrests

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PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Pasco County Sheriff's deputies put the cuffs on 55 people in a 24-hour period as a part of Operation Balderstone.

The operation was named after Lt. Chuck Balderstone, a long time narcotics detective who's retiring next week. Those arrested face a number of charges. "

Sale and possession of controlled substances, trafficking in controlled substances, sale and possession of methamphetamine, sale and possession of moli, sale and possession of synthetic drugs, you name it. We had the kitchen sink." Said Sgt. Bill Davis. "Everyone that was selling this type of stuff in our county, we went out and grabbed them and sent the message out yesterday. "

Lt. Balderstone says in his nearly 3 decades at the sheriff's office, he's seen it all. 30 years ago, pot busts were the big thing. Now, he says, it's pills. "It seems like there's always something that moves to the forefront. You know we moved into this pill epidemic" Said Balderstone. " I can tell you in all my years of service, that's the worst battle that we've ever fought right there."

Sheriff Chris Nocco says he believes, as a result of Operation Balderstone, Pasco County is a safer place. "There's 55 people in jail right now talking to each other saying the Pasco County Sheriff's Office doesn't mess around." Said Nocco. "And when they get out of jail, or when they go to prison, they're going to be sending out word to their friends and colleagues know, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office doesn't mess around. "

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